The pandemic has claimed over 300 journalists so far

According to a study, over 300 journalists have lost their lives due to the virus since the pandemic started. On average, three journalists died every day in April 2021. In May, this average climbed to four per day. The second wave has not only claimed the lives of several senior journalists but has also killed many others working in districts, towns and villages across different Indian states.

28 May 2021 | By PrintWeek Team

According to a report by the Delhi-based Institute of Perception Studies, a total of 238 journalists have died due to Covid-19 infection from April 2020 to 16 May 2021 (these are the cases that have been verified).

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has been far more devastating for the media than the first. According to the report by the Institute of Perception Studies, the first wave of the pandemic, from April to December 2020, killed 56 journalists. In comparison, the second wave claimed the lives of 171 journalists between 1 April, 2021, and 16 May 2021. The remaining 11 journalists died between January and April.

Apart from 238 deaths listed by the Institute of Perception Studies, the institute has 82 other names that are yet to be verified.

Dr Kota Neelima, the director of the institute, said so far, over 300 journalists have died from Covid. “Out of which, we have been able to verify 238. An investigation is on regarding the rest,” she added.

The Institute of Perception Studies has included all those journalists who died after getting infected while covering news in the field or working in offices. These range from reporters of media institutions, stringers, freelancers, photojournalists and citizen journalists.

According to the data from the Institute of Perception Studies, Telangana registered 39 death, which is the highest among states. In North India, the highest tally was registered in Uttar Pradesh where 37 journalists died of the infection. This is followed by 30 journalist deaths in Delhi, 24 in Maharashtra, 26 in Odisha, 19 in Madhya Pradesh. These do not include the 82 deaths that are yet to be verified.

According to the report, journalists between 41 and 50 years of age amounted to 31% of total deaths. Around 15% deaths were reported among the age group of 31-40 years, 19% among 51-60 years age group, 24% among 61-70 years age group and 9% journalists who died of Covid were above 71 years of age.

Among them, 35%, or 85 journalists, were from metro cities, while 64%, or 153 journalists, were from non-metro cities, including rural India.

About 55% were from print media, 25% from TV and digital media and 19% from freelance journalism.

Meanwhile, I&B ministry has approved Rs 5-lakh assistance to kin of 67 journalists who died of Covid-19. Dependents of each of these journalists will get the financial relief under the Journalist Welfare Scheme (JWS) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B).

Earlier, the Odisha government had announced financial assistance of Rs 15-lakh for the family of journalists who die of Covid-19. The Rajasthan government has announced financial aid of Rs 50-lakh. The UP government has also announced Rs 5-lakh to the kin of the deceased journalists.