Nearly 500 journalists have died from Covid-19 in 56 countries since 1 March, said the Switzerland based international media rights body Press Emblem Campaign adding that in month of November, at least 47 media workers succumbed to the novel corona virus infection related ailments around the world.
“Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic is claiming more and more victims in the media. It’s a huge loss. In countries like India, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, the number of victims among journalists is on the rise,” said PEC general secretary Blaise Lempen adding that Latin America is leading with more than half of the victims where Asia follows with 125 deaths ahead of Europe (38 deaths), North America (26) and Africa (24).
Peru remains the country with the heaviest death toll, where 93 media workers have died of Covid-19. India is now the second worst affected country with 51 deaths. Brazil took third place with 43 victims ahead of Ecuador (41), Bangladesh (39), Mexico (33), USA (25), Pakistan (12), Panama (11), UK (10), Nigeria (8), Afghanistan, Dominican Republic & Honduras (7 each), Argentina, Nicaragua & Venezuela (6 each), Colombia, France, Russia & Spain (5), Italy (4), etc.
PEC has identified at least three corona-deaths in Nepal, Cameroon, Egypt, Guatemala, Iran, & El Salvador (3), two casualties in Algeria, Indonesia, Morocco, Paraguay, South Africa & Sweden and one death in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Iraq (Kurdistan), Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkey, and Zimbabwe.
“India lately lost journalist Rajiv Katara (60), who died of Covid-19 aggravated ailments while undergoing treatment in a New Delhi hospital on 26 November. He worked for the social and literary magazine Kadambini from Hindustan Times group. Hailed from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, Katara was earlier associated with newspapers like ChouthiDuniya, SundayObserver and DainikJagran,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative.
Earlier, Noida based scribe Pankaj Shukla (50) succumbed to Covid-19 complications on 20 November at JP hospital. Hailed from UP’s Bareilly locality, Shukla studied at Allahabad University and started his journalism career with popular Hindi newspapers like AmarUjala and DainikJagaran. Later he shifted to electronic platforms like Janmat TV, KhabarBharti, News 30, NewsExpress, etc.
Prior to him, Haryana based journalist Rakesh Taneja (51), who used to work for Zee News, AmarUjala, DainikBhaskar etc, died of Covid-19 at a Faridabad hospital on 16 November. Orissa’s television scribe Prabir Kumar Pradhan (35), who was associated with News18 (Odia) news channel succumbed to the virus infection on 5 November, added Thakuria.
With the casualties, the pandemic also crushed the mainstream media industry to a larger extent. Many print media owners have stopped publishing physical newspapers and shifted to the digital space. Some print houses closed down their editions in different places, reduced pages, cut salaries and even layoff employees including senior journalists citing the reason of shrinking advertisement revenues.
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