Punjab Chief Minister on Monday announced all accredited and yellow card journalists as “frontline workers.” All accredited and yellow card journalists in Punjab are now included in the list of Covid Frontline Warriors, said Raveen Thukral, Media Advisor to Punjab Chief Minister.
The Editors Guild of India has demanded that journalists be given priority in vaccination against COVID-19 and also urged all media organisations to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of their scribes. In a statement, the Guild condoled the deaths of journalists who have died because of COVID-19 over the past year.
“In April 2021 itself, more than 52 journalists died because of the virus. Further, according to the Delhi based Institute of Perception Studies, more than 100 journalists have died since the lockdown was first declared from April 1, 2020,” the Guild said in a statement.
On World Press Freedom Day, News18 listed states that have announced journalists as frontline workers for priority vaccination amid the covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Madhya Pradesh declared media professionals accredited with the state government as ‘frontline workers’. While making the announcement, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said journalists were risking their lives while doing their duty during this “dangerous period of COVID-19 pandemic”.
“Therefore, we have decided to declare all accredited journalists as frontline workers in Madhya Pradesh. They will be taken care of,” Chouhan said in a video statement on Twitter. Around 4,000 journalists are currently accredited with the state government, according to a public relations department official.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a presser after her landslide win with 213 of the 292 assembly seats that went to polls declared journalists as Covid warriors. "Journalists have taken risk and worked on the field all these days like other Covid warriors. I declare you Covid warriors too. Let the Chief Secretary note this down. I am still the chief minister since I have not resigned as per rules before taking oath again," she was quoted as saying.
The Bihar government decided to give status of frontline workers to the journalists who will get COVID vaccination on a priority basis. All the journalists accredited with the Information and Public Relations Department at the state level and also non-accredited scribes authenticated by the district public relation officers, from print, electronic and web media, will be considered as frontline workers for inoculation, an official statement said.
All of them will be given COVID vaccine on a priority basis, it said. The state government decided to consider the important role media persons play in making people aware of the danger of the highly infectious disease.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared working journalists of the state as frontline Covid warriors. While approving a proposal to this effect, the chief minister said, journalists are doing a great service to the state by providing seamless news feed and making people aware of coronavirus-related issues.
“They are a great support for our war against COVID- 19,” a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said. The decision would benefit over 6,500 journalists.
“As many as 6,944 working journalists of the state have been covered under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana. They are getting health insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh each,” the statement said. Odisha has also announced an ex gratia of Rs 15 lakh for the next of kin of journalists who die of COVID-19 while performing their duty, it said.
The Uttarakhand government had declared all journalists and media organisation representative as frontline workers and had ordered inoculations for them
“During the ongoing pandemic, the journalists in the state worked like frontline workers in providing the required information to the people about Covid-19 which helped the government significantly,” said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat.