At the outset, Dr Vardhan welcomed the students and extended his gratitude for inviting him to interact with the budding journalists. Dr Vardhan stated, “Media being the fourth pillar of democracy plays very important role in modelling attitude of people. Thus, there is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of journalists as they are capable of delivering richest of dividends.”Applauding the efforts of journalists during the times of crisis due to pandemic from the last 11 months, Dr Vardhan said, “Journalistshave worked round the clock from ground zero to provide information to the public. The COVID war, which started from January 2020 is now into its eleventh month. Media has been an active partner during this journey.” He also paid his tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives in an attempt to provide information to the people. “My list of Corona warriors also include journalists”, he said.Remembering the contribution of journalists during the fight against poliomyelitis, the minister said, “Health Journalism was the nucleus of our war against Polio.
At the time when India was home to 60% of the polio affected people, dreaming about polio free India was a distant reality. The positive contributions of journalists have helped in making it a successful national program.”Seeking the help of journalists in eradicating Tuberculosis by 2025, Dr Vardhan said, “I appeal all of you to put your heart and soul into the TB elimination program and make this dream a reality. The active participation of journalists will help in large scale awareness generation among public.”He further added, “Media should restraint itself from spreading unreliable information. People put their trust in the media to provide them authentic information. It becomes duty of every journalist to provide credible and verified information to the public. Unverified news coming into public domain is dangerous and may cause great damage.”Dr Vardhan proposed to initiate a collaborative programbetween the institution and ministry which will be a good learning experience for a budding journalist in the field of health and science.Prof. Sanjay Dwivedi, Director General of IIMC, Shri K. Satish Nambudiripad, Additional Director General (Admin) of IIMC, Prof. Surbhi Dahiya, Convenor of the programme and Prof. (Dr.) Pramod Kumar, Co-convenor of the Programme were present at the event.