21 April 2020: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) reiterates its demand to the Union government to extend insurance cover to media persons too as done for the medical fraternity given that cases of journalists testing positive for COVID-19 are on the rise. As per reports available 53 journalists in Mumbai and another five in Tamil Nadu have tested positive for Covid-19, while carrying out their duties reporting the epidemic.
At the same time, the IJU has urged upon media managements to provide their staff with requisite protective gear such as the basics N-95 masks, hand sanitisers and insurance cover besides extending all support, both moral and medical to the staff which have tested positive.In a statement Geetartha Pathak, IJU President and former member of Press Council of India and Sabina Inderjit, Secretary General and IFJ Vice President said that given the media too has been included as part of essential services, the Government must cover journalists under the insurance scheme, as they too are ourring their health and life at risk to keep the public as well as the governments informed.
The 53 journalists, including photographers, camerapersons and reporters, is the highest number so far from a city, said the IJU, with earlier cases reported from Chennai being 5, Bhopal one, way back in March. However, it is suspected there would be more and therefore it is vital that both the government and media owners pay heed to the well being to media’s frontline warriors too. The IJU also urges journalists to take all precautionary measures while in the field of reporting and other than its advisory issued on taking precautions it asks journalists to download the IFJ Covid-19 Safety Advisory for Media Workers. MMP