Karnataka to UP: These states have declared journalists frontline workers
On Tuesday, Karnataka became the latest state to designate journalists in the state as "frontline workers" adding that they would be vaccinated on priority. The Centre has ignored repeated calls to declare journalists frontline workers even though many reporters have lost their lives to COVID-19 in their effort to bring forth stories on the pandemic. However, the following states have declared journalists frontline workers.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa tweeted on Tuesday, "Our government has decided to consider journalists as frontline workers and accord priority in vaccination against COVID-19." However, he asked journalists to be responsible with their reportage. "It is the responsibility of the media to point out flaws and shortcomings but showing one issue continuously will create fear among people," he was quoted as saying.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President and CM-elect MK Stalin said on Tuesday that journalists, photojournalists, and camerapersons working in print and broadcast media in Tamil Nadu would get priority in treatment at the government's expense. They are eligible for all due rights and concessions—including priority vaccination—designated to a frontline worker, he said. In the event of a COVID-related death, they will be compensated, he added.
Other states that have brought journalists under the ambit of frontline workers include Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal. MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said journalists were risking their lives during this "dangerous period." Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said, "they are a great support for our war against COVID- 19." Accredited media professionals are eligible for priority vaccination in these states.
Although Uttar Pradesh has not declared journalists frontline workers, working journalists and their families who are above 18 years of age will be administered COVID-19 vaccines for free, if necessary, at separate inoculation centers. News Broadcasters Association (NBA) President and India TV Editor-In-Chief Rajat Sharma had earlier written a letter to the state government, seeking priority vaccination for the state's journalists.
In a statement issued last week, the Editors' Guild of India condoled the deaths of journalists who lost their lives to 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," the statement read.
Separately, Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday wrote to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, urging him to recognize journalists as frontline workers and ensure they get vaccinated against the viral infection. "More than 200 journalists have lost their life due to COVID-19," he wrote. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said that he will take up the matter with the CM.