Washington: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused worldwide devastation. More than 600 journalists died of COVID-19 in 59 countries over 10 months in 2020, Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), an international media watchdog based in Switzerland said on Tuesday.
“Of the 602 journalists who have died from COVID-19 since March 1, Latin America led with more than half of the known victims or 303 deaths,” said the PEC.
Asia followed Latin America with 145 journalists deaths, It has also affected large numbers of journalists in Europe (94), North America (32) and Africa (28).
“Because of their profession, journalists who go into the field to testify are particularly exposed to the virus. Some of them, especially freelancers and photographers, can’t work from home,” said PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen.
Peru’s remains the country with the highest death toll since March last year. 93 media persons died due to virus. While 55 journalists in Brazil and 53 in India lost their lives due to COVID-19. Apart from 45 journalists in Mexico, media persons were killed in Ecuador (42), Bangladesh (41), Italy (37) and United States (31).
While 22 journalists died in Pakistan due to COVID-19. was followed by Afghanistan, Dominican Republic, Nigeria and Russia (8 each), Argentina, Colombia and Honduras (7), Nicaragua, Spain and Turkey (17), United Kingdom (13), Panama (11) and Bolivia (9). Venezuela (6 each), France (5), Nepal, Cameroon, Egypt, Guatemala, Iran, Salvador, South Africa and Zimbabwe (3), Algeria, Indonesia, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal and Sweden (2).
There are also a large number of countries where at least one journalist died due to an epidemic. Less in Canada, Germany, Japan, Israel, Switzerland, Belgium, Uruguay, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq (Kurdistan), Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Tajikistan and Togo At least one journalist died from COVID-19.
PEC India’s contributor Naveen Thakuria said that recently the central government has decided to provide assistance to the families of journalists who have suffered from COVID-19 complications, and started collecting applications for financial assistance under the Journalist Welfare Scheme.