GENEVA/ASSAM: Expressing concerns over the demises of many journalists in south Asian nations due to Covid-19, the Switzerland based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) urges for necessary alertness among the media persons as they have to continue playing the role of corona warriors along with doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, etc.
India and Bangladesh have reported two corona casualties among media persons on Friday. Veteran journalist Kapil Datta, who was associated with the New Delhi based popular English daily Hindustan Times, passed away on 9 April 2021 after suffering from the novel corona virus infection related complications. Datta (65) was admitted at Vimhans hospital a few days back after testing positive for Covid-19 and developing breathlessness.
On the same day, Bangladesh journalist M Roman Shah Alam (54) died of Covid-91 complications at Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital in Gazipur, where he was admitted on 1 April after testing positive for the corona-infection. He used to work as a correspondent to Bengali newspaper Dainik Laakhokantho.
Lately, a Bhutanese journalist, who had visited Dhaka on 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence, tests positive for Covid-19 and he is under quarantine in Thimphu. He (name is not disclosed yet) becomes the first journalist in the tiny Himalayan nation to test positive for the virus infection, reported Bhutan’s national newspaper Kuensel.
“The global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic reaches at least 1038 journalists in 73 countries till date. Most affected countries include Brazil (170 dead), Peru (138), Mexico (93), India (63), Italy (51), Bangladesh (48), USA (46), Ecuador (45), Colombia (40), United Kingdom (28), Dominican Republic (27), Pakistan (25), Turkey (22), Panama (16), Russia (15), Spain (15), Bolivia (14),” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC.
He also added that since the beginning of March 2020, the PEC team (www.pressemblem.ch/) 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 corona virus, they have to inform about the spread of Covid-19, added Lempen, who is a journalist by profession.
“Prior to Datta, India lost another veteran journalist Fatima Zakaria to Covid-19 aggravated ailments on 6 April. The former editor of Mumbai based Sunday Times, Bombay Times, was admitted at a private hospital in Aurangabad of Maharashtra, where the Padma Shri awardee succumbed to the infection,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative.
Even though a massive Covid-19 vaccination program is launched covering over 75 million Indians till date, the populous country continues losing scribes to the pandemic. Days back, Mumbai based journalists Sabaji Mohan Palkar and Kailassinh Pardeshi, Lucknow’s scribe Pramod Srivastava and Bhopal based journalist Kamal Dixit died of corona-complications as India has lately faced an upcharge of Covid-19 cases with daily infections to over 100,000 individuals.