In the wake of the Corona virus outbreak, the newspaper vendors association decided to suspend its delivery in Mumbai leaving it to the publishers to announce that the physical edition of the newspapers will not be available in the city.
“There is no physical edition of Hindustan Times in Mumbai today on account of restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 that have made it difficult for our distribution partners to deliver newspapers. There is, however, an e-paper edition at https://t.co/rGQm71g8oq” said Sachin Kalbag, the executive editor of The Hindustan Times on Twitter.
There were no physical editions of The Times of India, and others including The Hindu, The Indian Express and The Mid-day. They took to Twitter on Monday stating that the print editions will not be distributed in Mumbai.The delivery has been interrupted and has been suspended in Goa and Delhi-NCR till March 25, 2020.
The two major reasons for the suspension are the imposed lockdown and the rounds of information on how newspaper could act as a carrier of the virus causing its spread.
The information on how newspapers could act as a carrier of the virus causing its spread doing its rounds on social media has forced the distributors and vendors to take the decision. But the publishers have been communicating to the readers that the processes are automated and commercial goods are unlikely to carry the virus, citing WHO. Several leading newspapers, in a combined communication on Saturday, said, “Covid-19 has shown us that fake news is a real issue. It seems fake news on social media is spreading faster than the virus itself. And answers are harder than ever to come by. Now we aren’t medical experts, but we know how to get to the truth. By thoroughly researching and verifying every word before it’s actually printed. So in these uncertain times, might we ask you wait. Wait before you share something you have no way of confirming. Wait until the truth in print makes its way to your doorstep. Print is proof.”
In Kerala, the lockdown hasn’t affected the supply of newspapers as it has been categorised under essential goods. The Chief Minister will hold a video conference today with the media heads to finalise on the guidelines and required measures for media professionals to ensure accurate information to those indoors.
With a major ritual in the mornings going the “e-way” for a major chunk of the population, be rest assured that digital is the way during lockdown and that could be the only distance we wouldn’t have to maintain during these days.