Op-ED by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Council
The fact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has dominated people’s online search queries and behaviours globally in the past six months is clearly indicative of the fact that life during this pandemic has, among other things, been one full of questions.
In the UAE and beyond, billions are relying on news and media, and turning to the internet to look for answers, allay their concerns, keep themselves entertained, and perform as many life functions as possible within the restrictions that have been announced by governments to ensure we are not putting ourselves or our loved ones in any risk.
A silver lining to all this turbulence is our willingness and capacity to work cohesively to find a permanent solution to this first-of-its-kind global health crisis. Today, thanks to our epidemiologists, doctors and scientists, we understand the virus better and are better equipped to resume – to some extent if not entirely – life’s essential functions. After a period of complete physical distancing by staying home as necessitated by the comprehensive National Disinfection Programme undertaken by the UAE government, we are gradually starting to show up to work in smaller numbers, engaging in a few hours of exercise outdoors, taking our children for a recreational outing, and so on.
The media’s role through the course of the outbreak has been paramount. In Sharjah and the UAE, the sector has been working around the clock to assemble and disseminate critical information from healthcare authorities on ways to avoid the spread of the infection, distilling complex data into easily digestible and useful information.
In essence, this crisis has necessitated local media to function as a public-health educator. They have educated the public about the impact of COVID-19 on daily life, trade, travel and financial markets, keeping the nation abreast of every official announcement and every public initiative by government authorities designed to slow the spread of the disease.
As we hail our countless everyday heroes across sectors for ensuring that we have continued access to the complex network of enablers to continue life and work, has it ever occurred that every single individual in our nation, in our own unique way, on the frontline of this crisis? By not overlooking or undermining our duties and responsibilities attached to the partial freedom of movement and social life restored after a long and hard-fought battle with COVID-19, we are all contributing to winning over this pandemic.
How do we make sure that we are all on the same page in fighting Coronavirus? By being aware and informed, by being steadfast in our efforts, and by doing our best to support our wise leadership to achieve success in all their endeavours directed towards completely eradicating this virus and bring the nation back to health. In all this, the media will remain strongly committed to educating and empowering you, every step of the way.
Awareness is our medicine. Until we find a cure…
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