Covid-19 continues to kill journalists, global casualties may reach 2,000

By N.J Thakuria

Geneva/Guwahati : The number of journalists dying of
Covid-19 are still growing globally, where at least 1830 scribes have
succumbed to the novel corona virus 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 corona crisis this month.

The populous country witnessed the demise of three scribes because of
corona complications within the first week of October.
Bhubaneswar-based senior Odia journalist Vivekananda Dash died of
Covid-19 on 6 October. Dash (70), who worked for Janatantra, Sambad, Eastern Times, Organiser etc, passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Earlier, Kochi-based cartoonist C J Yesudasan (83) died of post corona complications on the same day, who was preceded by another Odisha scribe Satyajit Mohapatra (44) losing his battle on 4 October 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 the 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
( adding that some politicians, also a section
of media, continue spreading false information about vaccination at a
high cost.

Till date, more deaths have been reported from Brazil, where 282
journalists lost their live to corona related complications. India is
just behind with 275 journo-corona 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
to corona related illness. We witnessed the demise of only two
journalists namely Gautam Das (70) from Agartala and Syndor Singh
Syiem (67) from Shillong because of Covid-19 in the last two months,”
said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative, adding 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.