Minister focuses on public welfare issue

KATHMANDU: Minister for Information and Communications Shankar Pokhrel today said that the government planned to separate public welfare advertisement from other form of advertisements.

The move comes in the wake of the government’s emphasis on the public welfare issues. He blamed the media for disseminating negative publicity, which does not augur well for the nation and its citizens.

He made this statement while addressing a second national media conference on HIV and AIDS, which was organised by Naya Gorato.

According to the minister, a majority of the citizens are deprived of information. “The government is working with FM stations and other forms of media to disseminate information to the public,” he explained.

Pokhrel cited the recent outbreak of diarrhoea epidemic in the Mid-West and Far-West to drive home his point.

“Lack of awareness about personal hygiene and environmental sanitation led to the increase in the toll,” he added.

As far as HIV/AIDS is concerned, the situation in Nepal, opined the minister, is not all that alarming as compared to some of the African nations.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Laxmi Raj Pathak, director, National Centre for AIDS and STD Control, under the Ministry of Health and Population, said that 76 per cent of

HIV/AIDS patients contracted the disease due to unsafe sex.

Dharmendra Jha, president, Federation of Nepalese Journalists, said that the media was ready to perform its social responsibility.

He suggested that the state should provide a conducive working environment for mediapersons. He also spoke of a concerted, coordinated bid to tackle HIV/AIDS.

Shiva Raj Bhatta, correspondent of Annapurna Post in Dhangadi, was felicitated at the programme for his coverage on HIV/AIDS.