Authorities threaten to mass media for writing about swine flu in Belarus

2009 2009-11-04T20:43:48+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Officials of the Information Ministry will keep a close watch on what is written about flu outbreak by registered media outlets and their websites.

The Ministry will curb any attempts to misinform the country’s population. It has been stated by the deputy information minister Liliya Ananich, commenting on the boom started by some mass media relating acute respiratory viral infection and flu outbreak, BelTA informs.

‘As for the work of mass media, we analyze its consistency with the law and will suppress any attempts to misinform citizens of our country. It is enough to look through printed and electronic mass media for that today, but we will turn attention to the internet versions of registered mass media for that,’ Liliya Ananich said.

As said by her, information should be conscientious. ‘It should be information not for the sake of information and piquant facts, but information for the good of the country and citizens, who live there,’ the first deputy minister noted.

Liliya Ananich is convinced that mass media should work for creation. Before using some piece of information, one should think what good it would do to a reader or listener. Besides, health workers should actively comment and tell about issues of health protection not only in periods of problems, but on a constant basis, using any mass media.

Unfortunately, according to the first deputy minister, the press does not work well in issues of informing the population about health lifestyles. ‘They fail to inform the population exactly on the issues of the existing problems. But the first problem is that in everyday life people are not so active in protecting their health,’ Lidziya Ananich said, addressing mass media representatives.

‘It is clear that the topic of health is one of the most interesting and important topics. But the informational psychosis observed at the pages of some newspapers and internet portals is no good at all. It demonstrates that some mass media are trying to exacerbate the situation in some way,’ Liliya Ananich said.

As said by the first deputy minister, when a problem exists, people should talk about it. And when citizens are alarmed by their health, it is normal, but first of all people should be aware that health protection should not become an issue for speculations against the background of exiting problems. ‘It’s true, the epidemic situation in the neighboring countries is tough, but nothing is happening in Belarus which exceeds possibilities our medicine. It’s true, there are cases of illness, there is shortage of medicines, but if mass media would call all the citizens of our country to pharmacies, one could imagine what would happen to these pharmacies,’ Liliya Ananich said, continuing that there is no necessity to run to pharmacies and buy medicines. ‘You should live health lifestyles, raise your children in a normal way and go to work, and doctors would do their work,’ she emphasized.

Bear in mind that swine flu is raging all over the world and in all the neighboring countries around Belarus. And only Belarusian officials state that ‘people do not die of swine flu in our country’. Meanwhile, unofficial reports in Belarus inform about new deaths from swine flu and its complications. Representatives of the Health Care Ministry refuse to confirm or refute these reports categorically.

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