Pragjyotish Barta, Guwahati, 5 December 2020: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), an international media rights body, welcomes the statement of quasi judicial body Press Council of India (PCI) urging the Indian Union government and province administrations to recognize the journalists, who died of Covid-19, as corona warriors like the practicing doctors and other essential health staff.
The Council recommends to the government to include the corona-victim
journalists in the category of warriors like other essential health
staff and confer them with the same benefits. The federal government
had already announced rupees 50 lakh compensation for doctors and
other frontline workers who die fighting the pandemic.
“It’s a welcome move as the India has lost over 50 journalists to
various Covid-19 aggravated complications till date. The pandemic is
claiming more and more victims in the media and in countries like
India, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, the number of victims among
journalists is on the rise,” said Blaise Lempen, general
secretary of PEC (www.pressemblem.ch).
By now, thousands of Indian journalists along with other media
employees got infected with the novel corona virus as they have been
reporting the pandemic from the ground. India’s casualties compared to
near 500 global media corona-deaths in 56 countries are relatively
higher after Peru (with93 deaths), but ahead of its neighbours
Bangladesh (39), Pakistan (12), Afghanistan (7), Nepal (3), etc.
“A large section of media managements in India continue engaging their
scribes to report during the pandemic with little or no pre-caution &
preventive measures,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s country representative
adding that many media owners, citing the reason of shrinking
advertisement revenues because of the pandemic, even stopped
publishing physical newspapers, closed down editions, cut salaries and
also laid off their employees.