Journalist deaths from Covid-19 near 500 globally

Indian journalists Covid-19 toll at 57

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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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