Punjab, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Karnataka, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu are some of the states that have taken this decision so far. Reply awaited from remaining states
In a much-needed move, several states have announced that journalists will be classified as ‘frontline workers’ and give them the necessary priority in the vaccination program.
West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh were the latest states to join the list of CMs announcing this classification. Providing a much-needed respite to the journalistic fraternity, this move will cater to thousands of journalists across the country who have been tirelessly reporting from ground zero for the last year amidst a raging pandemic, at the risk of their physical safety.
Unfortunately, several journalists have lost the battle against COVID-19 as well. According to the Geneva-based media rights body, Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), India is among the top three countries in the world when it comes to deaths of journalists due to COVID-19.
As of May 2, as many as 131 journalists had succumbed to COVID-19 in the country, PEC noted. India is only behind Brazil (with 183 deaths among journalists) and Peru (with 140).
Meanwhile, in Maharashtra, the worst impacted state because of COVID-19, many journalists, media persons, and associations have made a strong pitch in the same regard. No response has been received thus far. However, Maharashtra Minister and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat have written a letter to the CM requesting to grant permission for classifying journalists as ‘frontline workers’ and prioritized vaccination.
Journalists have to step out of their homes to bring us news. They are at a higher risk of contracting the COVID19 infection. And so, in a letter to @OfficeofUT, I have demanded that all journalists be given the status of frontline workers and should be vaccinated on priority. pic.twitter.com/z063tRIYTg
— Balasaheb Thorat (@bb_thorat) May 4, 2021
“Journalists have to step out of their homes to bring us news. They are at a higher risk of contracting the COVID19 infection. And so, in a letter to @OfficeofUT I have demanded that all journalists be given the status of frontline workers and should be vaccinated on priority” he tweeted
According to the World Press Freedom Index 2021 published by Reporters Without Borders, India has ranked 142 among 180 countries – worse than its neighbors Pakistan (145) and Bangladesh (152). It has been listed as the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.