Why has state banned door delivery of newspapers?

Updated: Apr 20, 2020, 08:06 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

In a surprise addendum to its earlier circular on what will be allowed and what won't, it mentioned that the print media will be exempt from the lockdown, but specifically banned door-to-door deliveries of the papers

This picture has been used for representational purposes
This picture has been used for representational purposes

The Maharashtra government has, in its revised guidelines to combat the Coronavirus pandemic, prohibited the door-to-door delivery of newspapers and magazines.

In a surprise addendum to its earlier circular on what will be allowed and what won't, it mentioned that the print media will be exempt from the lockdown, but specifically banned door-to-door deliveries of the papers.

Door delivery of goods and food has been deemed essential, which makes the ban on newspapers seem baffling and downright illogical.

Maybe the state has taken its stand after a pizza delivery boy tested positive for COVID-19.

Online food apps scurried to assure a spooked customer base that they will take all steps to sanitise, including no-contact deliveries.

It is strange then that some door-to-door services are allowed, while others are barred. If the ban stems from the likelihood of the virus spreading due to door-to-door deliveries, then should not all kinds of delivery be barred? Why only newspapers and magazines?

A lot of people find it difficult to access the print media, even though these newspapers or magazines may be selling at small kiosks and newsstands. Getting these is very difficult.

This is the time when citizens need daily newspapers, especially because of the plethora of fake news doing the rounds on social media and the divisive nature of television news.

People are looking for informed, balanced, and credible sources of information, which is what the daily newspaper is.

Finally, newspapers have also got the big, green, safety tick mark from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which released a statement when asked about newspaper safety.

It said: "The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled as exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low."

The mandarins of Mantralaya need to understand their folly and quickly reverse their decision and allow door-to-door delivery of newspapers so the citizenry is kept well-informed to survive the pandemic.

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