Globally 35 journalists killed in 2021, India loses two

Covid-19 complications take 1586 journalists since March 2020

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Editors Guild of India on the death of Sulabh Srivastava | journalists
Sulabh Shrivastava, TV journalist who died on Sunday night 13 June 2021

Geneva/Guwahati, In the first six months of 2021, at least 35 journalists were killed in 21 countries around the world, whereas India lost 2 scribes to violence within this period. In contrast, more than 1586 journalists died of Covid-19 complications in 78 countries since Mach 2020, where India tops the list with 259 corona-victims among media persons.

Casualty figures ‘stable’

Afghanistan emerges as the most dangerous country with five journalists killed since 1 January 2021, stated the Switzerland based media rights and safety body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) adding that
casualty figures remain stable compared to the previous year when 2020 also witnessed the murder of 35 media workers during the same period. The troubled south Asian country is followed by Mexico and Pakistan with three casualties followed by India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Azerbaijan and Ethiopia each with two victims of targeted violence.

One journo-casualty has been reported from United States of America, Colombia, Greece, Turkey, Yemen, Haiti, Lebanon, Nigeria, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador and Gaza. “PEC strongly condemns these killings and urges the local authorities to shed light on the causes of these crimes in order to arrest and prosecute those responsible,” said Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC (https://pressemblem.ch/). For the remainder of the year, the PEC team is particularly concerned about the situation in Afghanistan, particularly the women journalists working there, due to the withdrawal of NATO troops, he added.

Latin American journalists bear the brunt of Covid-19 deaths

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to claim journalists across the globe. The number of victims has slightly slowed down during the month of June (especially in India) with around 60 dead, compared to more than 200 in May around the world. Latin America witnessed the highest casualties, with more than half of the victims. During June, the highest number of journalists died of Covid-19 was recorded in Brazil (one every 2 days).

“India has slightly improved the record of journo-casualties because of intentional killings in the last six month as the populous country lost Ashu Yadav (a Kanpur based scribe) and Sulabh Srivastava (a Lucknow based television journalist) to assailants,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative adding that India lost highest number of journalists (15) last year followed by Mexico (12), Pakistan (8), Afghanistan (7),  Bangladesh (1), and Indonesia (1). The Sulabh Srivastava death is attributed by the UP police to an accident as Srivastava was returning home on his motorcycle late at night.

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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