Rise in journalist deaths due to Coronavirus pandemic

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Pankaj Shukla died of Covid- related complications
Journalist Pankaj Shukla died of Covid- related complications.

Geneva/Guwahati:  Yet another journalist died in this ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as cases in the National Capital saw an upward surge in recent weeks. Noida-based journalist Pankaj Shukla, 50, died of Covid-19 complications on November 20.

Shukla, who hailed from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, was admitted at JP Hospital, Noida, following complications, where he succumbed to the aggravations caused due to Covid-19 infection.

An enterprising journalist, Shukla studied at Allahabad University and started his journalism career with popular Hindi newspapers like ‘Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagaran. Later, he shifted to electronic platforms like Janmat TV, KhabarBharti, News 30, NewsExpress, etc. Recently, he launched his own YouTube channel ‘Rajsatta Express’ and worked as its editor-in-chief.

On November 16, Haryana- based journalist Rakesh Taneja (51), who worked for Zee News, Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar etc also died due to Coronavirus.

In recent months, several journalists have died of Covid complications.

Prabir Kumar Pradhan, 35, an Odisha TV scribe succumbed to the virus infection on November 5. Tripura-based journalist Jitendra Debbarma, 46 lost his battle against the corona infection on October 20. Debbarma worked for a Kakborok language cable channel named Chini Khorang and succumbed to Covid-19 complications at Khumulwng hospital.

Patna- based photojournalist Krishna Mohan Sharma (63), who worked for
The Times of India, died of corona complications on October 15, while undergoing treatment at the AIIMS, New Delhi. Same day, veteran cricket journalist and commentator Kishore Bhimani (81), died after contracting the Coronavirus at a hospital in Kolkata.

In September, at least 12 journalists died of the pandemic. The pandemic has affected thousands of journalists and media employees in India, as they are playing the role of corona-warriors along with the doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police personnel.

The insensitive attitude of the editors and management towards their employees, while engaging them and subsequent lack of adequate precautions is one of the causes of the rise in casualties among the media persons due to Covid.

“India has lost 50 working journalists to Covid-19 complications, with the number of casualties rising to 469 in 56 countries,” said Blaise Lempen, general-secretary of Press Emblem Campaign (www.pressemblem.ch), an international media rights body based in Switzerland. In fact, India has emerged as the second most affected country among media persons after Peru, followed by Brazil, Bangladesh, Mexico, USA, Pakistan, UK, Afghanistan, Russia, France, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Nepal etc,” he added.

The Covid- induced pandemic has taken a toll on the media industry globally. Several print media have closed their print editions and shifted to the digital version. Some print management have even closed down their editions in different places, reduced pages, cut salaries and have laid off their staff, including senior journalists, citing shrinking advertisement revenues.

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