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AIR took steps to dispel rumours during Internet ban

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 22 - With Internet services remaining off grid in the State for more than a week following the large-scale violence that took place during the course of the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, or the CAA, national public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) undertook steps to dispel rumours and to try to disseminate the message of the authorities to the people of Assam.

The AIR maintained its normal transmission services for the benefit of those residing in Assam, while, at the same time, also increasing its activities on the social media for the benefit of people outside the State, who were following the developments for various reasons.

Among other steps, the AIR Guwahati increased the timing of its daily evening news bulletin from 10 minutes to 15 minutes and also informed the public about measures taken by different departments dealing with issues like safe passage of stranded tourists, supply of LPG cylinders, curfew timings, among other things, on a regular basis.

�The AIR Guwahati kept its normal transmission going during this difficult period, at times even with skeletal staff. We arranged to air the government�s views on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB)/CAA as well as broadcast a panel discussion on CAB/CAA involving legal experts and political leaders of different parties. We also arranged broadcast on administrative measures undertaken by the police and the districts administrations to restore law and order,� said Rajeev Baruah, Head of Programme of the AIR Guwahati.

AIR officials said their emphasis was on ensuring that people are not influenced by rumours.

�For that purpose we increased the timing of our daily evening news bulletin from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Talk shows were held to give our listeners the real sense of what was going on. As a national public broadcaster, it was our purpose to dispel rumours and let our listeners know the truth by providing factual information. We also disseminated such information through Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for the benefit of people outside Assam, who had access to Internet during those days. We received a lot of feedback from both the public as well as the government departments by means of both phone and the social media,� said an official of the AIR Guwahati station.

He added, �For example, the Airports Authority of India informed that the LGBI Airport would be kept open 24 hours for the public who are unable to move out of the terminal building due to chaos in the city. We immediately transmitted that news. Train schedules and cancellations were also transmitted regularly. We took bytes of officials of banks, emergency services and other departments so that the public would get real-time information on important issues.�

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal�s appeal calling for peace was also transmitted two to three times.

�We tried our best to provide the facts to the masses and in this regard the Central and the State government machinery also extended their support... The Principal Director General (News) and other senior officials were in constant touch with the Guwahati station people in guiding and motivating the staff,� said Manas Pratim Sarma, News Editor of AIR, Guwahati.

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AIR took steps to dispel rumours during Internet ban

GUWAHATI, Dec 22 - With Internet services remaining off grid in the State for more than a week following the large-scale violence that took place during the course of the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, or the CAA, national public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) undertook steps to dispel rumours and to try to disseminate the message of the authorities to the people of Assam.

The AIR maintained its normal transmission services for the benefit of those residing in Assam, while, at the same time, also increasing its activities on the social media for the benefit of people outside the State, who were following the developments for various reasons.

Among other steps, the AIR Guwahati increased the timing of its daily evening news bulletin from 10 minutes to 15 minutes and also informed the public about measures taken by different departments dealing with issues like safe passage of stranded tourists, supply of LPG cylinders, curfew timings, among other things, on a regular basis.

�The AIR Guwahati kept its normal transmission going during this difficult period, at times even with skeletal staff. We arranged to air the government�s views on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB)/CAA as well as broadcast a panel discussion on CAB/CAA involving legal experts and political leaders of different parties. We also arranged broadcast on administrative measures undertaken by the police and the districts administrations to restore law and order,� said Rajeev Baruah, Head of Programme of the AIR Guwahati.

AIR officials said their emphasis was on ensuring that people are not influenced by rumours.

�For that purpose we increased the timing of our daily evening news bulletin from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Talk shows were held to give our listeners the real sense of what was going on. As a national public broadcaster, it was our purpose to dispel rumours and let our listeners know the truth by providing factual information. We also disseminated such information through Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for the benefit of people outside Assam, who had access to Internet during those days. We received a lot of feedback from both the public as well as the government departments by means of both phone and the social media,� said an official of the AIR Guwahati station.

He added, �For example, the Airports Authority of India informed that the LGBI Airport would be kept open 24 hours for the public who are unable to move out of the terminal building due to chaos in the city. We immediately transmitted that news. Train schedules and cancellations were also transmitted regularly. We took bytes of officials of banks, emergency services and other departments so that the public would get real-time information on important issues.�

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal�s appeal calling for peace was also transmitted two to three times.

�We tried our best to provide the facts to the masses and in this regard the Central and the State government machinery also extended their support... The Principal Director General (News) and other senior officials were in constant touch with the Guwahati station people in guiding and motivating the staff,� said Manas Pratim Sarma, News Editor of AIR, Guwahati.