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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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