Mr. Belhimer stresses the importance of crisis communication

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The Minister of Communication, Spokesman of the Government, Mr. Ammar Belhimer highlighted the importance of crisis communication in the current situation that the country is going through, due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, to respond to the citizen’s right to information. In an interview on public television on Saturday evening, on International Press Freedom Day, the minister explained, « in a context of high tension, it is crisis communication that is required in order to respond to the citizen’s right to information ».

The Minister of Communication, Spokesman of the Government, Mr. Ammar Belhimer highlighted the importance of crisis communication in the current situation that the country is going through, due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, to respond to the citizen’s right to information.

In an interview on public television on Saturday evening, on International Press Freedom Day, the minister explained, « in a context of high tension, it is crisis communication that is required in order to respond to the citizen’s right to information ».
Stressing, in this sense, that the institutional media plan is based on four (4) axes, he said that the first concerns « the organization of a daily press briefing, through which is communicated the epidemiological assessment of the last 24 hours, the establishment of a list of names of Imams and specialists willing to take part in radio and television broadcasts, and interventions in the print and digital media. The Minister also mentioned the « launch of a 6th TV channel dedicated to the broadcasting of educational programs and courses for the benefit of the three levels of education, in addition to the online availability of interactive educational content through social networks, with the support of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications ». The minister indicated, in this regard, « Information in times of crisis is part of a well-structured network of commands based on three hierarchies of a strategic, operational or practical and tactical nature ». He explained that the strategic command « requires two levels of decision-making, under the authority of the President of the Republic, in this case the High Security Council (HCS) and the Government ». For M. Belhimer, « an intervention of the HCS was necessary because we are facing what is called, in International Law, the concept of ‘exceptional public danger’, which threatens the existence of the entire nation. Therefore, Algeria, like all other countries, can take exceptional measures, in the sense that public authorities are not obliged, in such circumstances (to avoid the spread of the pandemic), to respect the obligations inherent in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), including the rights of assembly, demonstration, assembly and movement, » he added. We are, therefore, facing something more serious than a state of health emergency, » he said. There is another institution at the heart of this battle, the Government, headed by the Prime Minister who, very early on 21 January, signed a circular calling on the competent services to be vigilant and to take pre-screening measures, » Belhimer said. This circular came more than a month before the first case of infection with the new coronavirus, that of an Italian national in Hassi Messaoud, was registered, Belhimer said.

Referring to the operational command, the minister stressed that it has mobilized the efforts of the Ministry of Health, including the minister, the logistics unit, the directors of public health and the province commissions.

To this end, Mr. Belhimer welcomed the role of the monitoring and information unit calling it the « central core » of this operational command, through which the state guarantees citizens fair, equitable and continuous access to information on major risks. « This right to information encompasses, for the citizen, knowledge of the risks and vulnerability of his place of residence and work, as well as information on the prevention mechanisms in force in his place of residence or with regard to his activities, as well as the arrangements for dealing with disasters, » he concluded.

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