Media personnel are at risk during natural disasters and are supposed to considered as frontline workers availing them with vaccine drive and the insurance benefits.
According to the center frontline workers are those personnel from central and state police organization, civil defense volunteers, armed forces, prison staffs, revenue officials engaged in the surveillance, disaster management volunteers and municipal workers etc.
Some Union territories and state are including other categories of people as frontline workers like, government departments of banking, railway and journalists too. Central advises state to stick to the guidelines defined by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare but then, health secretary said state can add other categories and are supposed to perform vaccine directly procured by state government.
The crowd on earth is witnessing a unique way of the working of media and activistic activity on currently happening, media is the fourth pillar of democracy, it acts as bridge between the people and government with recognizing loopholes of it. This pandemic made crowd out there to have glimpse in between the lines of one of the longest written constitution.
The primary function of the journalist is to inform public by reporting local, national and international issues and provides citizens with the information they need to make decisions with their best possible knowledge of it. More the citizens informed, more is the participation which results in broader acknowledgement of the issues. These professionals are tend to remain committed to keep people updated with authoritative views, credible news and concise commentary on issue of pertaining.
At this very time it necessary to the population to exchange proper news, problems faced and solution of it. Media can access us to justice. Though, Hon’ble supreme court launched mobile app for journalists for attending virtual hearings, they need not to come out. Besides, apex court also planned to launch Indicative notes on mobile app and websites which helps to compile judgements, nonetheless they require field work to get connect with citizens and problem. Thus, the exposure to crowd is inevitable one.
Among surge in Covid-19 disease in the country, many states have declared journalists as frontline workers ensuring vaccination with utmost priority for the others like, Doctors; Nurses; Police etc. It is very much necessary to do so because, fundamental rights are for every Citizens of country and media professionals are not exception in any ways. It is mentioned, frontline of media professionals includes photographers, videographers, cameramen, technical staff editorial staff.
Frontline workers are those who are working day and night to stabilize the situation and I am of opinion that, while others are fighting for their rights in these hard days and media professionals (newspaper, video and audio sources) are leftover. Don’t they have right to life? well this issue is addressed by the Federation of All India Medical Association, The Editor Guild of India, The Kerala Union of Working Journalists and many more (a same recommendation to the center and state government came after the number of deaths increased), informs Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the inclusion media professionals as frontline workers, this gained massive support including by Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister Delhi. Journalist as profession demands the exposure to the crowd, “cannot work from home”, like other frontline workers journalists are also working with the risk daily to cover public and pandemic concerns.
Demand become even more stronger after demise of Vipin Chand, 41-year-old was a visual media journalist in Kochi. Earlier, the Press Council of India made
Moreover, it is difficult for them to work without protection. According to the Geneva based rights body, Press Emblem Campaign India is among top three countries in the world witnessed deaths of journalists due to Covid-19.
Under new vaccine policy, the center stated that 50 percent of the vaccine free, rest 50 percent has to procure on own. Biotech and Serum Institute both are a step back in fulfilling the order.
Declaration by various Provinces: To begin with Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Karnataka and many more these state government had declared journalists as frontline workers and vaccination for all without any age restrain.
Media service is seamless one, which make people aware of on-going news. In addition to this Odisha government has announced an Ex-gratia of fifteen lakh for the kin of journalist who die of covid-19 and Chief Minister also stated that “As many as 6,944 working journalists of the state have been covered under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bhima Yojana. They are getting health insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh each.”
Recently Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court by journalist union, Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh (Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh v State of Maharashtra & Anr.) pointing that twelve states have declared journalists and other media personnel as frontline workers.