Devastating impact of the pandemic on media, deplorable situation in India

Geneva/Guwahati, 30 April 2021: The Covid-19 pandemic had a
devastating impact on the media, the Switzerland based media rights
and safety body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) lamented on Friday in
preparation for World Press Freedom Day on 3 May. Human cost of the
pandemic is particularly high where over one thousand journalists have
lost 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 the pandemic is particularly high where over one
thousand journalists have lost their lives due to novel corona virus
aggravated ailments. Journalists are engaged in a profession which is
particularly exposed to the virus, as many have been forced to
continue working in contact with the population. Until 29 April 2021,
since March 2020, within 14 months, the PEC (www.pressemblem.ch/) has
counted more than 1,200 journalists  who died from complications
related to Covid-19 in 75 countries.
“This is an unprecedented slaughter and a great loss for the
profession,” said PEC secretary-general Blaise Lempen adding, “On the
occasion of World Press Freedom Day, we call for honoring eminent
colleagues of all ages who have not survived the pandemic.” He appeals
to all concerned governments to take action to help the media most
affected and support the families of the victims on this auspicious
occasion.
PEC also considers there is a need to distribute vaccines equally all
over the world, to stop spread of the virus and its new strains in
developing countries. Vaccine production is limited and it is
available for the wealthiest countries, preventing access to
journalists in South America and South Asia. As long as this situation
continues, deaths will keep on increasing, it added.
The rate of deceased journalists accelerated further in April with the
deaths of 126 journalists in one month or four media-victims per day.
Since the pandemic broke out in March 2020, four countries have been
particularly affected with more than one hundred journo-casualties
each 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 effective
protection measures and the progress of vaccination. By region, Latin
America tops the list with more than half of the victims, 673 in 20
countries. Asia follows with 256 in 18 countries, then Europe with 175
in 19 countries. Africa comes next with 56 dead in 16 countries, ahead
of North America with 47 in 2 countries.
India recently lost half a century journalists within a fortnight to
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. India neighbour
Bangladesh recorded 52 journo-victims to Covid-19 followed by Pakistan
(26 dead), Afghanistan (9) and Nepal (7). Other tiny neighbours
Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar etc have not reported a single
corona media casualty.
The robust Indian media fraternity has lately lost Rohit Sardana,
Nilakshi Bhattacharyya, Aiyushman Dutta, Bhanu Prakash Rath, Manas
Ranjan Jaipuria, Amjad Badshah, Sridhar Dharmasanam, Raju Mishra,
Sadanand Shinde, Kakoli Bhattacharya, Kondra Srinivas Goud, Sammi
Reddy, Akash Saxena, Khwaja Mujahiduddin, Anil Basnoi, Venga Reddy,
Madiraju Harikrishna Giri, Syed Shabaz, etc to the corona-pandemic.
Good bye friends and rest in absolute peace around the unseen world.

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