The Newspaper Owners' Association of Bangladesh (Noab) yesterday urged people to keep reading newspapers, citing research findings that newspapers do not spread coronavirus.
In a statement, Noab referred to claims made on social media that the virus could spread through newspapers and said such ideas have no basis.
Rather, people should read the newspapers to know about the ongoing research, new health rules and methods that must be followed, it added.
The following is the full text of the statement:
The spread of coronavirus all over the world has made all people fearful and anxious. This panic no doubt has understandable reasons behind it. Man was not prepared for such a virus. The extent of the spread of the virus and the increasing number of deaths along with the fact that the movement of the virus is still under investigation make matters worse. At this sensitive moment, the Newspapers Owners' Association of Bangladesh (Noab) is expressing heartfelt compassion and unanimity with all.
This is a terrible time, not only for Bangladesh, but for the whole world. We want to tell everybody with firm conviction and pride that we from the newspapers have been with the people in any national emergency and disaster. In the latest adversity of coronavirus, daily newspapers have been publishing items that are helpful, remedial and awareness-building. The dailies are publishing on a regular basis news regarding ongoing research, new health rules and methods that must be followed along with stories of success in the matter.
We are noticing with agony that in such times of human frailty, the situation is being made more delicate by a section of social media feeding on unreliable information. Many readers are refraining from reading newspapers from such unfounded and conjectural ideas that newsprints may spread the virus. In fact, such ideas have no basis. The United States Journal of Medicine published from New England found in their research that the virus lives for a maximum of three hours in the air, a day on the cardboard and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. However, Professor Caroline Makhamar, a long-time researcher, has published in the website of Johns Hopkins University that on surface of objects the virus has a minimal chance of survival even though it might seem fearful to some. From the surface of objects there is very little chance of the virus spreading, one in a thousand, she said.
Thus far no research-information is available to suggest that newsprint or paper helps in the survival of the virus. The World Health Organisation has said that commercial items have very little chance of carrying contamination. Goods being transported to different places at various temperatures have little risk of coronavirus infection. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has said that there is no chance of the spread of this virus through newspapers.
Even then NOAB has started an awareness-building endeavour on behalf of all newspapers for the newspaper agents and hawkers. By now Noab has been distributing masks, gloves and sanitisers among the agents and hawkers in Dhaka and outside. Such activity by Noab will continue in the future also.
At such a time the important thing is to know the facts and inform what is really happening. The best way to save oneself from coronavirus is to know the latest and reliable information. News publishing is professional work. Before an information is published everything is examined through experienced and knowledgeable hands with great care. For any information, newspapers are the source of reliable news all over the world. During such testing times of coronavirus, newspapers are by the side of the readers as ever awake friends to give them the real security, carefulness and correct decision.
Our goal is to ensure good health, security and wellbeing to all. We request everybody to read newspapers.