In recent times more than a hundred journalists have succumbed to the COVID-19 virus, Chief Ministers from Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and West Bengal have announced that all working journalists from their states will be considered as COVID Frontline workers.
Journalists and the Journalist Associations from Maharashtra are also requesting the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led government to include Journalists / Media personnel into the COVID Frontline category. About 55 journalists from Maharashtra have succumbed to the COVID-19 infections as of today. Also, the ministers from Maharashtra are demanding the Thackeray government call journalists as frontline workers and get them vaccinated as a priority.
Sahil Joshi, Executive Editor for India Today told Afternoon Voice, “I do believe all the journalists are frontline workers. They have been working during the whole pandemic year and have been exposed to all the danger pandemic exposes too. Looking at the situation of the second wave it’s high time that they should be given the vaccination at earliest.”
Sumita Chakraborty, Editor for Stardust Magazine said, “It is really a shame that in Maharashtra journalists are not considered COVID warriors more so as there have been so many media personnel who have succumbed to the virus while on duty. Journalists are in the line of fire and they are doing their jobs despite the massive risks to their lives, it’s time our state government recognises this and tags the media under COVID warriors too.”
Sanjay Bhide, Prawartak – Convenor at Aamhi Marathee said, “The Journalists are as brave as other Corona Warriors. They reach all nooks & corners to get the frontal news about the Good and Bad about this deadly disease Corona and catch the attention of the concerned Authorities. They also do deserve the Salute with others! Yes, not all of them may be clean without selfish vested interests. But, by and large, most of them are also the Foot Soldiers against Corona!”
Anita Shukla, a senior journalist for Bhanu Sandesh said, “I think Maharashtra government should also announce journalists as COVID Front line workers as other states have already taken this decision. They should provide better facilities to the fourth pillar of our nation, as these journalists work at ground zero levels to bring up the truth and facts going in the country right now. They should be considered as the priority to be vaccinated.”
“It is essential that journalists and their crew be declared as frontline workers and they get the same vaccination priority as any other frontline workers do because they are out on the field risking their lives to bring news to us daily,” said Preeti Sharma Menon of Aam Aadmi Party.
Suresh Nakhua, Mumbai BJP spokesperson said, “The Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh government has included journalists in the frontline category, so all states must do so and in my opinion, the delivery boys working for essential deliveries be included in this category.”
Atul Tiwari, Editor of Voice of Thane said, “The MVA government is a confused government in the state, no decision making in place. The government needs press and reporters for press release in this pandemic situation where journalist are sacrificing their life in search of right information, collecting info from government and their authorities, but it seems very unfortunate that MVA government is least bothered about the journalist and press workers. It is said to be the Fourth pillar of democracy but Maharashtra government is not considering it.”
Senior Congress leader and Minister of Revenue, Balasaheb Thorat said, “Journalists are constantly out of the house for news. Therefore, they are at higher risk of corona infection. Their families are also at risk. I have requested the Chief Minister to give frontline worker status to all these journalists and vaccinate them immediately.”
Maharashtra TV Journalists Association said, “We are working every day since the start of this pandemic. Though considered as part of essential services, the state government has restricted our movement. We request the CM of Maharashtra to please allow all journalists and not only accredited journalists during this lockdown. Maximum numbers of journalists are not accredited because of its lengthy, complicated procedure. Restricting such a large number of journalists of various news organisations will be unfair & unacceptable.”
Krishna Hegde of Shiv Sena said, “I have written a letter regarding this to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, our Maha Vikas Aghadi government will surely be looking into this request.”
Pramesh Jain, a freelance journalist from Bangalore said, “There was no provision made, despite voice from press and journalist association raised from time to time. The CM announces compensation and journalists pull money to donate to the family of the deceased. But despite repeated pleas and demand, the state governments are yet to include journalists as COVID frontline workers, though it has given an exemption to work under essential services during the lockdown.”
Senior Advocate, Rohini Salian said, “Every person in the entire globe is a COVID warrior if he or she survives the pandemic. God bless the human race.”