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As India fights the deadlier second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic wave, several states in the country have announced journalists as frontline workers for priority vaccination. Goa is the latest to join the list. Its Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Wednesday that they will start vaccinating journalists and the procedure will be completed as fast as possible. Other states that have designated journalists as frontline workers, making them eligible for vaccines on priority basis, include West Bengal, Karnataka, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.
Mention may be made that the Editors Guild of India had demanded that journalists be given priority in vaccination against COVID-19. In a statement, the Guild has condoled the deaths of journalists due to COVID-19 over the past year and urged all media organisations to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of their journalists. According to the Guild, more than 52 journalists died because of the novel coronavirus in April 2021 alone. As per the Delhi-based Institute of Perception Studies, over 100 journalists have died since the lockdown was first declared from April 1, 2020, the Guild noted in its statement.
Journalists are 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 Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a video statement on Twitter on Tuesday.
"Journalists have taken risk and worked on the field all these days like other Covid warriors. I declare you Covid warriors too," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was quoted as saying at a presser after her landslide win in the assembly elections.
Journalists are doing a great service to the state by providing seamless news feed and making people aware of covid-related issues, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said while declaring working journalists of the state as frontline Covid warriors. "They are a great support for our war against COVID- 19," noted a statement issued by the CMO. In the addition, Odisha has decided to provide ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh for the next of kin of journalists who die of COVID-19 while performing their duty, according to the statement.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat also acknowledged the journalists in the state work like frontline workers during the ongoing pandemic and help provide the required information to the people about Covid-19 which is helping the government significantly.
Chief minister-elect of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin, on Tuesday took to Twitter to announce that journalists in the state will be treated as frontline workers. Journalists of television media, print and radio worked during natural calamities and pandemics at the risk of their lives. "Rights of Priority Employees - Privileges will be given to them accordingly," the DMK president said in the tweet.
With inputs from agencies
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