Geneva/Guwahati, 1 May 2021:The Covid-19 pandemic had adevastating impact on the media, the Switzerland based media rightsand safety body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) lamented on Friday inpreparation for World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.
Human cost of thepandemic is particularly high where over one thousand journalists havelost their lives due to novel corona virus aggravated ailments. India recently lost over 50 journalists in 2 weeks (3.5 per day).
Human cost of thepandemic is particularly high where over one thousand journalists havelost their lives due to novel corona virus aggravated ailments.Journalists are engaged in a profession which is particularly exposedto the virus, as many have been forced to continue working in contactwith the population. Until 29 April 2021, since March 2020, within 14months, the PEC (www.pressemblem.ch/) has counted more than 1,200journalists who died from complications related to Covid-19 in 75 countries.
“This is an unprecedented slaughter and a great loss for theprofession,” said PEC secretary-general Blaise Lempen adding, “On theoccasion of World Press Freedom Day, we call for honoring eminentcolleagues of all ages who have not survived the pandemic.” He appealsto all concerned governments to take action to help the media mostaffected and support the families of the victims on this auspiciousoccasion.
PEC also considers there is a need to distribute vaccines equally allover the world, to stop spread of the virus and its new strains indeveloping countries. Vaccine production is limited and it isavailable for the wealthiest countries, preventing access tojournalists in South America and South Asia. As long as this situationcontinues, deaths will keep on increasing, it added.
The rate of deceased journalists accelerated further in April with thedeaths of 126 journalists in one month or four media-victims per day.Since the pandemic broke out in March 2020, four countries have beenparticularly affected with more than one hundred journo-casualtieseach including Brazil (more than 183 media corona-casualties), Peru(140 dead), India (122) and Mexico (106).
There is nevertheless a positive note that the number of journalists’deaths slowed sharply in Europe and North America, thanks to effectiveprotection measures and the progress of vaccination. By region, LatinAmerica tops the list with more than half of the victims, 673 in 20countries. Asia follows with 256 in 18 countries, then Europe with 175in 19 countries. Africa comes next with 56 dead in 16 countries, aheadof North America with 47 in 2 countries.
India recently lost half a century journalistswithin two weeksto corona-complications, said Nava Thakuria,PEC’s country representative adding that the populous country might have lost more journalists than documented, as many media outlets in India prefer to tone done the corona casualties among their journo-colleagues. Indianeighbour Bangladesh recorded 52 journo-victimsto Covid-19 followed by Pakistan (26 dead), Afghanistan (9) and Nepal (7). Other tiny neighbours Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar etchave not reported a single corona media casualty.
The robust Indian media fraternity has lately lost Rohit Sardana,Nilakshi Bhattacharyya,Aiyushman Dutta, Bhanu Prakash Rath, ManasRanjan Jaipuria, Amjad Badshah, Sridhar Dharmasanam, Raju Mishra,Sadanand Shinde, Kakoli Bhattacharya, Kondra Srinivas Goud, SammiReddy, Akash Saxena, KhwajaMujahiduddin, Anil Basnoi, Venga Reddy,MadirajuHarikrishnaGiri, Syed Shabaz,etc to the corona-pandemic. Good bye friends and rest in absolute peace around the unseen world.