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PEC expresses concern as more journalists die of Covid-19 in South Asia

Geneva/Guwahati: Expressing concerns over the demises of many
journalists in south Asian nations due to Covid-19, the Switzerland
based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) urges for
necessary alertness among the media persons as they have to continue
playing the role of corona warriors along with doctors, nurses,
sanitation workers, etc.


India and Bangladesh have reported two corona casualties among media
persons on Friday. Veteran journalist Kapil Datta, who was associated
with the New Delhi based popular English daily Hindustan Times, passed
away on 9 April 2021 after suffering from the novel corona virus
infection related complications. Datta (65) was admitted at Vimhans
hospital a few days back after testing positive for Covid-19 and
developing breathlessness.


On the same day, Bangladesh journalist M Roman Shah Alam (54) died of
Covid-91 complications at Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College
Hospital in Gazipur, where he was admitted on 1 April after testing
positive for the corona-infection. He used to work as a correspondent
to Bengali newspaper Dainik Laakhokantho.
Lately, a Bhutanese journalist, who had recently visited Dhaka on 50th
anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence, tests positive for Covid-19
and he is under quarantine  in Thimphu. He (name is not disclosed yet)
becomes the first journalist in the tiny Himalayan nation to test
positive for the virus infection, reported Bhutan’s national newspaper
Kuensel.

kapil.datta
Kapil Datta


“The global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19
pandemic reaches 1036 journalists in 73 countries till date. Most
affected countries include Brazil (170 dead), Peru (138), Mexico (93),
India (62), Italy (51), Bangladesh (47), USA (46), Ecuador (45),
Colombia (40), United Kingdom (28), Dominican Republic (27), Pakistan
(25), Turkey (22), Panama (16), Russia (15), Spain (15), Bolivia
(14),” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC.


He also added that since the beginning of March 2020, the PEC team
(www.pressemblem.ch/) started a corona-ticker to pay tributes to the
journalists killed by the Covid-19 around the world. Media workers
have an important role to play in the fight against the novel corona
virus, they have to inform about the spread of Covid-19, added Lempen,
who is a journalist by profession.

“Prior to Datta, India lost another veteran journalist Fatima Zakaria
to Covid-19 aggravated ailments on 6 April.  The former editor of
Mumbai based Sunday Times, Bombay Times, was admitted at a private
hospital in Aurangabad of Maharashtra, where the Padma Shri awardee
succumbed to the infection,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India
representative.


Even though a massive Covid-19 vaccination program is launched
covering over 75 million Indians till date, the populous country
continues losing scribes to the pandemic. Days back, Mumbai based
journalist Sabaji Mohan Palkar and Uttar Pradesh’s scribe Pramod
Srivastava died of corona-complications as India has lately faced an
upcharge of Covid-19 cases with daily infections to over 100,000
individuals.

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