Srinagar: Director Institute of Perception Studies and Rate The Debate New Delhi, Dr Kota Neelima has urged the Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha to provide free Covid-19 treatment for Media persons and their immediate families in private and government hospitals.
“COVID-19 has claimed 219 lives of Media Persons across India – on an average 36 journalists had been killed per 10 days due to the pandemic during the second wave. As you are aware, several of these deaths were caused due to exposure to the virus in the line of duty of the journalists,” reads the letter.
It reads that the country’s citizens and the governments have benefitted from the news of the pandemic. “Even today, hundreds of journalists are on the field – reporting about COVID-19 wards in hospitals, families of COVID-19 patients, cremation grounds and other hotspots.”
“Media Persons are always prepared to cover news, go to the spot and get the story. A journalist will not hold back from reporting about the plight of a COVID-19 patient due to personal risk.”
Dr Kota in her letter has suggested that media persons should be given free COVID-19 treatment in government and private, as the treatment requires several days of hospitalisation, which is beyond the scope of most journalists.
“The treatment costs of Media Persons and their immediate families must be borne by the Government.”
She has suggested that journalists of all age groups to be provided the facility to walk into any vaccination centre and get the vaccine, as and when available. “Compensation in the form ex-gratia or education fees or employment support (as applicable) to the families of journalists who have succumbed to COVID-19.”
She has also suggested that there should be no differentiation and all support and schemes must be applicable to journalists who are Accredited and Non-Accredited, Employed and Free-lance, Print, TV and Digital, Rural and Urban, Photo and Video Journalists, Technicians and Assistants.
“My organization, the Institute of Perception Studies, New Delhi, has been following each case of Journalist Deaths across India, due to COVID-19. We have a database of verified names and details for every state in India. I offer the free services of my Institute to design solutions and implement these measures to save lives of Media Persons,” reads the letter.
“l hope you will consider these urgent suggestions. I have complete confidence that you and your government will support journalists in these times of extreme distress for the nation and for every individual. News is essential to fight COVID-19,” the letter further reads—(KNO)