At least 474 Indian journalists have died after contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with most cases job related, figures have revealed.
The number of reporters’ deaths recorded up to May 31 mainly involved writers on assignments in rural areas of India offering little or no access to COVID-19 vaccines or emergency medical care.
In one case, journalist Pradeep Kumar, 28, had been reporting on the health crisis for The Hindu newspaper, and had helped many COVID-19 patients access health care. However, when he contracted the virus, he allegedly received little government assistance.
My friend, Indian TV journalist #RohitSardana dies of heart attack after being diagnosed with #COVID19. He was also the producer of the hit ZeeTV series #FatahKaFatwa that I hosted.— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) April 30, 2021
Om Shanti. Goodbye my friend, you will live forever in India’s hearts. https://t.co/rRpc4esQwK pic.twitter.com/OqIxNqNVXN
Although reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak from some of India’s worst-hit areas, Indian journalists have not been afforded the same access to vaccinations and treatment as other frontline and essential workers.
After repeated calls from the media sector, the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced that its journalist welfare scheme would grant $6,858 to the families of reporters who had died of COVID-19.
Indian journalist live-tweeting wait for hospital bed dies from Covid https://t.co/Pi5UGuonFj— The Independent (@Independent) April 21, 2021
However, the support only applies to accredited journalists, and most of those who have died were not accredited. Also, most Indian journalists do not work for the large English-speaking media houses that often offer life and health insurances, and a pension.
Freelancers and stringers have been hit hardest with reduced incomes and no compensation for their families in cases where they have died from COVID-19.
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