Hyderabad: Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA Anagani Satya Prasad on Sunday urged Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy to ensure payment of ex gratia to journalists who succumbed while working as frontline warriors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Satya Prasad wrote a letter to the CM here, expressing concern over the inordinate delay in payment of COVID-19 ex gratia. “No solutions were provided to the long-pending problems of the media employees since the YSRCP came to power in the state. The eligible journalists are yet to get houses and the number of accreditations was also reduced irrationally,” he said.
The TDP MLA said that the media was the fourth pillar of democracy but it was facing unprecedented problems like never before. “The YSRCP regime has not resolved one single problem till now. Over 7,000 journalists, photographers and cameramen were working in the newspapers and electronic media in the state. They are facing untold hardships due to the absence of support. Like in all other cases, the ruling party has not fulfilled any of its promises made to them before the elections,” he remarked.
Satya Prasad termed it as ‘unacceptable’ that the government was resorting to vengeful actions even against the media when they were highlighting the people’s issues. “The advertisements are given only to the ruling party’s favourable media, which was not correct in a democracy,” he said.
The TDP MLA said that over 130 journalists lost their lives while doing duty during COVID-19 first and second waves. “Hundreds of them got infected and admitted to hospitals. The government has not yet paid the promised Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of journalists and photographers who died due to the virus. No assistance reached the mediapersons who got Coronavirus treatment in hospitals,” he added.
The TDP MLA deplored that the health insurance was not implemented for the journalists. “No action was taken against the culprits who attacked the media personnel. The AP Government should immediately recognise journalists as frontline warriors and provide Rs. 5 lakh ex gratia to the bereaved families. Over Rs. 20,000 financial assistance should be provided to every journalist’s family,” he demanded.