Pragjyotish Barta,Guwahati, 17 Septemberঃঃ Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) appreciates The Arunachal Times, a pioneer daily newspaper of northeast India, for its responsible conduct while dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic as some of its employees turned positive for the novel corona virus infections.
The Itanagar based newspaper, though its official twitter-account on 12 September 2020, revealed that four of their employees tested positive for Covid-19 and hence it requested all those who visited front office of The Arunachal Times to get themselves tested for the virus infection.
The management of Arunachal Times also declared that starting from 13 September it would not print the newspapers for three days ‘in order to sanitize the office’. However the newspapers continued to be available for the readers through various digital mediums.
It was the first incident in the region where a newspaper management voluntarily came forward declaring the corona infection to its employees and also asking the visitors to its office on previous days for necessary virus screenings. Earlier, The Shillong Times has to cease publications following the intervention of Meghalaya government citing the Covid-19 protocols in the fourth week of August.
As the Shillong administration declared the newspaper office and staff quarters as a containment zone after three employees tested Covid-19 positive, the management stated, “With deep regret we inform our readers that we are the only media house in the world to have fallen victim to Covid-19 ! After 75 years of service, we got the stick from the government for alleged violation of health protocol”.
“When the media insists on responsible conducts from others, the Arunachal Times has shown the way, which is otherwise unusual to most of media houses in the region,” said JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria adding that newspapers, news channels and digital media outlets should come clean on their employees turned positive for Covid-19 as an accountable institution.
Now almost everybody knows that over a hundred media employees based in Guwahati tested positive for Covid-19 and most of them have recovered. Many of them have already revealed their health status individually in the social media, said the scribe’s forum adding ‘however the appalling development has not been properly reported by any media group in the pre-historic city seemingly to hide vital information.’