Geneva/Guwahati: India continues to lose journalists in the Covid-19 pandemic even though the country has launched a massive vaccination program covering over 75 million Indians till date. On the other hand, the global tally of casualties among media persons is reaching 1000. According to the Switzerland based media watchdog and rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), at least 997 journalists succumbed to Covid-19 complications in 73 countries till the first week of April 2021.
Lately India lost veteran journalist, author and academician Fatima Zakaria (85) who succumbed to Covid-19 aggravated ailments on 6 April 2021 at a private Aurangabad hospital in Maharashtra. She used to work for Mumbai’s Sunday Times, Bombay Times, etc. Honoured with the Padma Shri award, Ms Fatima was the wife of Maharashtra’s former minister (also Islamic scholar) Dr Rafiq Zakaria and mother of global media personality Fareed R. Zakaria.
“Earlier, another Mumbai based journalist Sabaji Mohan Palkar died of Covid-19 on 4 April. The middle-aged journalist, who was associated with Asian News International (a leading multimedia agency), worked as a front-line activist,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative adding that Palkar was preceded by Uttar Pradesh scribe Pramod Srivastava, who died on 27 March after hospitalization with corona positive status.
“Since the beginning of March 2020, the PEC 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 coronavirus, they have to inform about the spread of Covid-19,” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC.
Lempen, a journalist by profession, added that the safety of media workers is particularly at risk in this crisis because they must continue to provide information on the ground. A number of them died for lack of adequate protective measures when doing their job. The PEC team, while consoling their demise as corona-warriors, requested early vaccinations for journalists on the frontlines.
Lately, India is witnessing an upcharge of novel coronavirus with daily infections to over 100,000 people, were Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, UP, Delhi, etc, emerge as the most affected States. Presently the country has over 8,43,470 active Covid-19 cases. The billion plus nation has recorded over 13 million patients since the pandemic’s outbreak last year with a total number of casualties at 1, 66,175 till date.
Brazil (140 dead) and Peru (137) continue to top of the list of most affected countries followed by Mexico (93), India (60), Italy (51), USA (46), Bangladesh (46), Ecuador (45), Colombia (39), United Kingdom (28), Dominican Republic (27), Pakistan (25), Turkey (22), Panama (16), Russia (15), Spain (15), Bolivia (14), Ukraine (14), etc, stated PEC (www.pressemblem.ch/).