It seems that the powers-that-be in Bali, are heading towards media censorship as far as any news related to the Bird-Flu outbreak is concerned.
Anak Agung Bagus Netra, the spokesman for the Bali Administration said on Tuesday that Governor Dewa Beratha had ordered all information regarding bird flu be delivered only by the public relations department.
He said that the Bali Government Authorities were annoyed by recent media reports of the bird flu virus on the island, which it said were creating excessive public anxiety that could damage the image of the resort island as it recovers from two deadly terrorist attacks.
“We are talking about a new outbreak here. We can’t have (ill-informed) people speaking about it on behalf of the administration. This is about Bali’s image. These days any information can fly overseas in a second,” Netra told The Jakarta Post.
Meanwhile, Udayana University virologist Ngurah Mahardika suggested that tourist destinations such as Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua be free from fowl, following the rapid spread of bird flu virus on the island.
“This is a better move than simply taking chicken off menus,” Ngurah told the Post over the weekend.
Some hotels and restaurants in Bali had decided to drop chicken dishes from their menus.
The public have been told to abandon backyard farming, while traditional markets have been asked to sell chicken meat only, not live poultry, he said.
Ngurah said the human-fowl population density in Bali, especially in Denpasar, made the region prone to a bird flu outbreak.
Lagging precautionary measures, Ngurah said, could help the virus spread and develop more quickly, thereby increasing the threat of a pandemic on the island.
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