Geneva/ Guwahati: Working journalists across the world are falling preys to Covid-19, where Brazil (177 dead), Peru (139) and Mexico (105) are leading the list of casualties among journalists due to novel corona virus infection aggravated ailments. Among Asian nations, India and Bangladesh are contributing a greater number of scribes to the list of victims of the pandemic.
Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Switzerland based media rights & safety body founded in 2004 by a group of journalists from several countries, reveals that the global tally of journo-victims due t Covid-19 ailments crosses 1130 in 75 countries since the pandemic broke out in March 2020. The billion plus Indian nation is occupying fourth position in the victim’s list with 71 media casualties till date.
Italy (52 dead), Bangladesh (51), USA (47), Ecuador (46), Colombia (44), United Kingdom (28), Dominican Republic (27), Pakistan (25), Turkey (22), Russia, Iran (21), Argentina (17), Panama, Venezuela (16 each), Spain (15), Ukraine (14), etc are placed accordingly in the list, prepared by the team of PEC (https://pressemblem.ch/), headquartered in Geneva.
Expressing apprehensions that the situation may deteriorate for the safety of journalists on the ground due to the corona-pandemic, PEC general secretary Blaise Lempen advocates for adequate compensations to the victim families. The former journalist of a prominent Swiss news agency Lempen also emphasize on early vaccinations to media workers so that they can perform their duties as corona warriors after the doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, etc without endangering their lives.
India, even after the launching of a massive corona-vaccination program covering around 127 million individuals till now in the backdrop of over two million reported infections every day mounting its cumulative Covid-19 cases to 1,53,21,089 (total casualty 1,80,530), witnesses the loss of two media to corona-complications in a single day.
Hyderabad based senior journalist Kosuri Amarnath passed away on 20 April while undergoing corona-treatment in the hospital. Amarnath (69)
was one of the leading media personalities who dedicated his life the rights and welfare of working journalists. Starting his journalism career with Telugu daily Andhra Bhoomi, Amarnath also worked for Hans India newspaper. Later he used to edit Scribes News, an Indian Journalists Union (IJU) publication. Survived by his wife and son, Amarnath was also a member of Press Council of India.
Bhopal based hockey journalist and historian Baboolal Goverdhan Joshi (67) also died of Covid-19 complications on Tuesday. Joshi used to maintain all necessary records of the national game of India since the early Seventies and wrote pieces for national newspapers. An engineer turned a genuine fan of hockey, Joshi left behind his wife, two sons along with a host of sports enthusiast and well-wishers.
Earlier on 18 April, Lucknow based journalist Tavishi Srivastava (73), who worked for The Pioneer, died. She was admitted in a corona-hospital in the morning hours as she faced breathlessness with high fever. Her condition slowly deteriorated and breathed his last in ICU. On the previous day, another Uttar Pradesh journalist Vinay Srivastava (65) succumbed to Covid-19 aggravated ailments.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh reported its 51st corona-victim among media persons as Cox's Bazar based journalist Nazrul Islam Bakshi (56) died on 18 April in Vellore (India). Bakshi arrived at CMC hospital for his wife’s treatment and later tested positive for corona infection. Same
day, prominent cine-journalist Shafiuzzaman Khan Lodi (65) died while undergoing corona-treatment in Dhaka on 17 April.
“India may increase the number of media corona-victims as various States like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana went on under-reporting about the actual figures because of various reasons,” said PEC’s country representative Nava Thakuria adding that in many cases the media houses did not report about their own positive cases to avoid unwanted interventions from the authority under relevant health protocols.