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Sri Lanka: Health Ministry issues guidelines on COVID-19 reporting

The Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services yesterday issued guidelines to the media on reporting on the novel coronavirus COVID-19, warning that stigmatising people with the illness could make them hide their condition.

While thanking media organisations for the assistance given in communicating messages from the health authorities on COVID-19 to the public, the Ministry said adherence to the guidelines when reporting would further strengthen the COVID-19 preventive program .

The guidelines are as follows:

  • Only report verified and accurate information on COVID-19
  • Do not mention race or religion of persons infected with COVID-19 or of those who die of it
  • Identify those infected with COVID-19 as patients and not as carriers/transmitters of the disease
  • Base reporting on technical and scientific basis, and not on personal views of different persons
  • Do not publish photographs or show videos of those infected with COVID-19 without their permission
  • When showing video footage of sensitive nature taken at funerals of those who died due to COVID-19, it is best to blur the videos
  • Do not report in a manner that causes hatred among people
  • Report on COVID-19 in a positive manner so as to build cooperation and support among people in dealing with the disease

The Health Ministry said that if reporting is done ignoring these guidelines, it could lead to a dangerous situation, with patients fearing to come forward as they could be stigmatised by society.

Friday, 3 April 2020



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