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India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative
The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.
“The most affected countries include Brazil (170 dead), Peru (138), Mexico (93), India (62), Italy (51), Bangladesh (47), USA (46), Ecuador (45), Colombia (40), United Kingdom (28), Dominican Republic (27), Pakistan (25), Turkey (22), Panama (16), Russia (15), Spain (15), Bolivia (14),” he said.

Last week alone, India and Bangladesh reported two corona casualties among media persons on a single day, Friday, said a PEC release, adding pointing out veteran journalist Kapil Datta, who was associated with the “Hindustan Times”, passed away on April 9, 2021 after suffering from the novel corona virus infection related complications.

Datta (65) was admitted at the Vimhans Hospital a few days back after testing positive for Covid-19 and developing breathlessness.

On the same day, Bangladesh journalist M Roman Shah Alam (54) died of Covid-19 complications at the Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital in Gazipur, where he was admitted on April 1 after testing positive for the corona-infection. He used to work as a correspondent to Bengali newspaper “Dainik Laakhokantho.”

Meanwhile, a Bhutanese journalist, who visited Dhaka on the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence, tested positive for Covid-19. He was under quarantine in Thimphu. He (name is not disclosed yet) became the first journalist in the tiny Himalayan nation to test positive for the virus infection, reported Bhutan’s national newspaper “Kuensel.”

Prior to Datta, India lost another veteran journalist Fatima Zakaria to Covid-19 aggravated ailment on April 6. The former editor of Mumbai-based “Sunday Times” and “Bombay Times” was admitted at a private hospital in Aurangabad of Maharashtra, where the Padma Shri awardee succumbed to the infection.

Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative and is a Guwahati-based senior journalist, said, even though a massive Covid-19 vaccination programme is launched covering over 75 million Indians till date, the populous country continues losing scribes to the pandemic.

“Days back, Mumbai-based journalist Sabaji Mohan Palkar and Uttar Pradesh’s scribe Pramod Srivastava died of corona-complications as India has lately faced an upcharge of Covid-19 cases with daily infections to over 100,000 individuals”, he added.

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