Combatting Crisis with Meaningful Communication

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One of the well-known intellectuals of Nepal in his recent speech expressed -State apparatus and resources are not always enough to combat the crisis but they are most essential ". This clearly highlights the state's resources must be supplemented by people's trust on government to gain national solidarity. The national solidarity can only be possible with the meaningful communication between the people and the government. In different time periods, we have seen that the trust between the government and people is enough to fight with any kind of situation and pandemic. Nepal has proved it in many occasions while fighting with various emergencies either in earthquake of 2015 or in many other historical incidents. The latest example was seen during the blockade of 2015 how the people of Nepal trusted the government and fought against the blockade jointly. There is no doubt that the Nepalese will fight this pandemic together with the same spirit as they have shown in the past.

The meaningful communication generally means there is both way of communication between government and citizens. Government should listen to the people and on other hand people should listen to the government. Let us review the trend of communication between the government and people during recent scenario of Nepal after the outbreak of the COVID-19 as pandemic. The first communication of government emanated as the decision to postpone SEE examination which was done as precautionary measure to protect the student and community from the pandemic. Most of the people perceived it was done too late, as we know too late means too many. Though the decision was for public good, it was not on right time and was done contradicting various earlier communications done by the governments. These multiple and late discussion weakened the trust of the people on government. Strong government must be visionary enough to take decision timely keeping the need of the people in the center especially during emergency.

Similarly another government's communication came as the decision of lockdown which was also very important decision towards the precautionary measures to restrict the transmission of virus in the community. Many debated that the decision came lately but agreed that it was essential. It is not always that the prime minister communicates with the people but government communicates with the people through state apparatus. We pretty well know how the government apparatus communicated with the local people during the lock down. The social media and news coverage during lockdown clearly explained the action of state apparatus. The physical thrashing of commoners by police and other ill treatment to the people by the state apparatus during lockdown not only deteriorated the communication between state and citizens but also weakened the trust of the people towards the government.

Needless to explain the communication of government with their health practitioners. Doctors nurse, community health workers are the front line fighters of this pandemic. So, far government is not able to take them into the confidence. This is due to inefficiency to establish proper communication between the state and health professionals. Government must establish meaningful communication with them gaining their trust as war cannot be fought without the warrior and the warrior must be equipped with the weapons. It is high time that the government must establish effective communication with health worker which can facilitate the strategy of combating this pandemic even with the limited resources we have. Government must motivate health professionals rather than dissuading them as few chief ministers recently made the statement to cease the license of the health professionals. These ill communications must be stopped in order to create the environment of trust and confidence between state and people.

Similarly the people also have the huge responsibility to create environment for meaningful communication to strengthen national solidarity. It is not always the people should contradict and demand with government. They should also follow the instructions given by the government for the communal good. People should support government in every possible ways they can especially during the emergency. At this time of difficulty, the citizens must be responsible towards their civilian duties with higher sense of humanity. Recently, locals of Bajhang disregarded the government announcement to stay indoors and thousands of people participated to celebrate annual Chaoitali festival. Likewise the people walking down the streets during lockdown unnecessarily are the wrong gesture of communication by the people which ultimately leads to mistrust between the people and government. Above instances clearly shows that there is a huge gap of meaningful communication between state and citizens. Thus Government and people should complement each other to fight this difficulty with meaningful communication.

Leaders at every tier of government have a responsibility to confront dangers before they appear and engage the people on the best course of action. Government and people together should help nation to prepare for future hazard which would be only possible through meaningful communication between government and people. To conclude with, the best possible communication from government considering the recent scenario is to provide essential support and immediate supply of essentials to most vulnerable groups along with providing protecting equipments to health professional. Optimum use of lockdown by rapid tracing of contacts and mass testing of infected which will help government to gain trust of the people ultimately enhancing national solidarity. In the same way citizens should abide by the appeal and decision made by the government only then government and citizens together can fight with the present crisis and its future impact which would be multifaceted .It is utmost important to establish meaningful communication between state and people to overcome all the crisis with national solidarity.





Position: Human Right Activist

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