Coronavirus has had a devastating blow on the global population, bringing death, sickness and financial ruin in its wake. Hardly anyone has remained immune to the pandemic. Things are not any different for journalists. According to data by the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), since the beginning of March, which is when they started tracking till December 26, 585 journalists have died in 57 countries. India is the second-most affected with 53 deaths, preceded only by Peru with 93 deaths.
Peru and India followed by Brazil with 51 deaths, Mexico with 42, Ecuador with 41, Bangladesh with 41, Italy with 35, USA with 30, Pakistan with 22, Turkey with 17 and the UK with 12 are the most affected countries.
The PEC stated that safety of media workers are particularly at risk as journalists must continue to provide information on the ground. It stated that a number of journalists died "for lack of adequate protective measures when doing their job".
Television journalist Neelanshu Shukla associated with AajTak also succumbed to the virus. The 30-year-old was based in Kanpur. Siliguri-based senior journalist in Himalaya Darpan, Mani Kumar Rai, Malayala Manorama's senior journalist D Vijayamohan, poet and journalist Manglesh Dabral, Delhi-based senior journalist Rajiv Katara, Noida-based Pankaj Shukla, Delhi-based senior journalist Rakesh Taneja, Bhubaneswar-based television journalist Prabir Kumar Pradhan, Tripura-based Jitendra Debbarma, Mysuru-based Pavan Hettur, Patna-based photojournalist Krishna Mohan Sharma, Assam-based journalist Dhaneswar Rabha, Ludhiana-based veteran journalist Ashwani Kapoor, All India Radio news presenter from Guwahati Golap Saikia, Indore-based senior journalist Manoj Binwal are only a few of the long list of scribes who succumbed to the deadly virus.
The PEC has asked readers to intimate them if they have missed any name from the list. The deaths, hence, could be more than what PEC has reported.
The Press Council of India had urged the government and province administrators to recognise journalists who died of COVID-19 as corona warriors, similar to doctors and other essential health workers. It also pressed for a group insurance scheme for journalists.