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International press body records 2,000 journalists’ deaths due to COVID

 

GENEVA: Nearly 2,000 journalists have died from Covid-19 infections across 94 countries since March of 2020.

In 2021 alone, at least 1,400 media personnel succumbed to the virus, which is 116 per month or 4 persons in a day, the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said.

No continent has been spared by the pandemic. Of the 1,940 journalists dead registered by the PEC since March 1, 2020, Latin America leads with half of the victims (955 deaths).

Asia follows with 556 dead, ahead of Europe (263), Africa (98), and North America (68).

More than 50 casualties are still under investigation. The actual number of victims is certainly higher, as the cause of journalists’ deaths is sometimes not specified or their deaths are not announced.

In some countries, there is no reliable information and the 2000 figure is actually considered to be a low estimate.

According to PEC India representative Nava Thakuria, the country might have lost over 400 media workers to the pandemic, but a hundred of these deaths are yet to be authenticated.

After a spike in deadly infections in the first half of 2021, the death toll thankfully slowed in the second half thanks to advances in vaccination, said PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen.

For the second half of 2021, 225 deaths were registered, with an increase in Europe, and a sharp decrease in Latin America and Asia (in December 25 journalists died, in November 28, in October 27, in September 33, in August 42 and in July 70). In the first half of 2021, 1,175 journalists were killed by the virus.

“The PEC hopes that this slowdown will continue in 2022 but is worried by the high number of infections caused by the Omicron variant”, the press body said.

It has urged all media workers to take the necessary precautions including the booster vaccine.

Since March 2020, Brazil is the country with the heaviest death toll with 295 media workers who died from the coronavirus. India is second with at least 279 victims, ahead of Peru (199), Mexico (122), Colombia (79), Bangladesh (68).

In the United States of America, at least 66 journalists died with Covid-19. Italy is the first among European countries with 61 dead media personnel.

The PEC said that it’s tally is based on information from local media, national associations of journalists and regional PEC correspondents.

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