Geneva/Guwahati, 8 October 2021: The number of journalists dying of Covid-19 is still growing globally, where at least 1830 scribes have succumbed to the novel coronavirus infection in 83 countries since March 2020, revealed Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Geneva-based global media safety and rights body. India after showing some improvements in the last few months, once again starts losing media workers to the pandemic this month.
The populous country witnessed the demise of three scribes because of covid 19 complications within the first week of October. Bhubaneswar-based senior Odia journalist Vivekananda Dash died of Covid-19 on October 6. Dash (70), who worked for Janatantra, Sambad, Eastern Times, and Organiser passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Earlier, Kochi-based cartoonist C J Yesudasan (83), died of post covid 19 complications on the same day, who was preceded by another Odisha scribe Satyajit Mohapatra (44) losing battle on October 4 to the virus infection.
Given the new variants, the PEC warns that the number of journalists who have died from Covid-19 is likely to reach 2,000 marks by the end of 2021. ‘Journalists on the ground remain one of the most exposed professions. The number of registered victims has slowed down since June, but the vaccination rate remains insufficient in many countries,’ said Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC (https://pressemblem.ch/) adding that some politicians, and also a section of media continue spreading false information about vaccination at a high cost.
To date, more deaths have been reported from Brazil, where 282 journalists lost their lives to covid related complications. India is just behind with 275 journo-covid 19 casualties, followed by Peru (198), Mexico (121), Colombia (78), Bangladesh (66), USA (61), Italy (60), Venezuela (55), Ecuador (51), Argentina (45), Indonesia (41), Iran, Russia (33 each), United Kingdom (31), Dominican Republic, Turkey (28 each), Pakistan (27), Nepal (23), Bolivia (20), Honduras (19), South Africa (18), Egypt, Panama (17 each), Spain (16), Ukraine (15) etc.
“During July, August, and September, India lost only five journalists in covid related illness. "In the last two months, we witnessed the demise of two journalists, namely Gautam Das (70) from Agartala, and Syndor Singh Syiem (67) from Shillong of Covid-19,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative. He also added that altogether three scribes, namely, Lairenjam Bijen Singh (45, Imphal), Rajiv Ghosh (59, Kolkata) and Manik Lal Das (58, Kumarghat) succumbed to Covid-19 complications in July.