Journalist deaths from Covid-19 near 500 globally

Indian journalists Covid-19 toll at 57

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Prabir Kumar Pradhan, a crime reporter for News 18 Odia died of Covid-19 on 5 November 2020 in Ashwini Aditya Covid Hospital in Bhubaneswar. He is survived by his wife and two year old daugher.

On 24 September 2020 we published Nava Thakuria’s story of the two dozen deaths of Indian journalists due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A report by Rowan Philip of the Global Investigative Journalism network dated 17 November updates the number of Indian journalist deaths due to Covid-19 at 57. The GIJN report based on the Press Emblem Campaign reports 462 journalists deaths from 56 countries as of 15 November.

Peru’s journalism community has been the hardest hit, with 93 reporter deaths, followed by India with 47, Ecuador with 41, and Brazil with 36. In an interview with GIJN, Blaise Lempen, PEC secretary general, said the true tally was likely much higher than 462, as researchers were limited to cases officially confirmed to be virus-related, through testing or certification.

The PEC had recorded 64 Covid-19 deaths in 24 countries by 5 May 2020, a number that rose to 462 on 15 November, in 56 countries. Both numbers are likely to be an undercount. While this is a seven fold increase in deaths in the past six and a half months, the worldwide pandemic deaths in this period have risen five-fold.

“By region, Latin America leads by far with more than half of the victims, or 251 deaths,” said Lempen. “Thousands of reporters have been infected with the virus, and the death of more than 450 media workers over a period of months is an unprecedented loss for the profession.”

The numbers are rather grim: As of November 15, the toll had risen to at least 462 journalists lost to Covid-19, from 56 countries — a more than seven-fold increase. Since that time, the number of total worldwide pandemic deaths has risen five-fold, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. “We fear a hundred more victims by the end of the year,” Lempen added.

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Naresh Khanna
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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