Bharat second in COVID-19 media casualties

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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to claim victims among journalists across the globe, Bharat (India) emerges as the second most affected country (after Peru) with 47 corona-casualties since March followed by Ecuador, Brazil, Bangladesh, etc. 

The worldwide pandemic-related casualties rise to 442 media persons in 52 countries, reveals the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), an international media rights body based in Geneva (Switzerland).

The PEC in a statement issued on 2 November 2020 on the occasion of International Day to end impunity for crimes against journalists also added that altogether 63 journalists were murdered from January till October this year in various circumstances (Bharat with six Casualties), which brings the total number so far this year at more than 500 fatalities.

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Thousands of Indian journalists with other media workers get infected with the virus as they have been playing the role of corona-warriors along with the doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police personnel, etc. 

The increase of media corona-casualties in Indian newspapers, news channels, and digital news outlets is tempted by the callous approach of editor-managements while engaging them in reporting the pandemic from the ground with little precautions.

“It is an extremely heavy and unprecedented toll. The safety of all Journalists who work on the ground to inform on the pandemic is at stake. Many victims are young and they have been infected at work. As the second wave has just begun, we urge all stakeholders to better protect the media workers, without preventing them from doing their job,” said PEC general-secretary Blaise Lampen.

Peru remains the country with the heaviest toll, with 93 media workers who died of novel coronavirus infections till 31 October. The rise in the number of victims of Covid-19 has been particularly strong in recent weeks in Bharat where Ecuador is third with 41 deaths, Brazil at the 4th place with 36 journalists, and Bangladesh with 35 Corona-fatalities.

Among the other Covid-19, affected countries include Mexico (with 2 Journalist-casualties) followed by the United States of America (22), Pakistan (11), Panama (11), Bolivia (9), etc. In Great Britain and Nigeria, eight journalists died in each country. Seven victims were counted in Afghanistan and Honduras, six in Nicaragua, five in Russia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, then four in Colombia, France, and Spain.

Italy, Cameroon, Egypt, Guatemala, Nepal, and El Salvador each lost three journalists to Covid-19. Two deaths each are reported in Algeria, Argentina, Indonesia, Iran, South Africa, and Sweden. 

One media corona-fatality has been traced in Germany, Israel, Lebanon, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq (Kurdistan), Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

The actual figure should be certainly higher, as some countries do not report the deaths of journalists or many of them have not been tested before dying. The PEC count is based on information from the local media, national associations of journalists, and regional correspondents of the organization. 

Condemning the assassination of 63 Journalists, the PEC has renewed its call to concerned governments to enforce the resolution of the human rights council on the safety of scribes.

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Nava Thakuria
Nava Thakuria
Nava Thakuria is a Guwahati based media activist, who is working for print media for 30 years now. He writes on various issues related to northeast India and also the media as a while.

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