December 6, 2021, 9:08 pm
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Corona virus kills 34 journalists in Bangladesh

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34 journalists have died in Corona in the country of Bangladesh

So far 34 journalists have died in the country due to corona. Another 14 died of corona symptoms. Among the dead were renowned journalist Kamal Lohani, joint editor of Prothom Alo Mizanur Rahman Khan and acting editor of Dainik Sangbad Khandaker Muniruzzaman.

The Facebook-based group of journalists has confirmed the information in ‘Our Media, Our Rights’. The same information was found by searching in different media. Among the dead in Corona are Khandaker Mozammel Hossain (Gedu uncle), Jugantar owner Nurul Islam Babul, NTV program chief Mostafa Kamal Syed. Four journalists have died in the country in the last two weeks. Colleagues are worried about several other journalists who are currently hospitalized.

Moshiur Khan, general secretary of the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity, the largest organization of reporters, said at least 50 members of the organization were suffering from corona at the moment. Hospitals were not available for everyone. More than 20 people have been admitted to different hospitals. Some have been provided with oxygen at home.

The Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has been working on the safety and security of journalists since 2004. As of April 13, 1,083 journalists in 64 countries had died of corona, the agency said. The highest death toll was 183 in Brazil. And 48 people have died in Bangladesh so far. Bangladesh ranks sixth in terms of journalist deaths in Corona. However, the World Meter says, Bangladesh ranks 36th in the world in terms of total deaths in Corona.

Top 10 countries in Corona for journalist deaths
Brazil 183
Peru 138
Mexico 93
India 63
Italy 51
Bangladesh 46
United States 48
Ecuador 45
Colombia 40
United Kingdom 26
March 2020-13 to April 2021
References: Press Emblem Campaign

The PEC says some countries also lack reliable information. However, this is the first time in the world since World War II that so many journalists have died in the line of duty. Journalists should be brought under the fast immunization program.

Geneva works in Bangladesh as a local partner of this non-governmental organization, ‘Our Media, Our Rights’. From the beginning of the corona infection in the country, they have been keeping an account of the deaths and injuries of journalists. According to the group’s data, the PEC is calculating deaths around the world with corona and corona symptoms. Humayun Kabir Khokon, the city editor of the daily Alor, died for the first time among the journalists in the country on April 26 last year after being attacked by corona. Hasan Shahriar, a senior journalist, died on April 10. Although Shahriar’s corona test result was negative, his colleagues said that he had multiple symptoms. The doctors also treated him with corona. A day earlier, on April 9, Roman Shah Alam, the Gazipur correspondent of the daily Lakho Kantha, died. Jagdish Chanda Ghosh, a senior journalist from Faridpur, died on April 2 in Corona.

Razia Khatun, wife of Roman Shah Alam, said the family’s only source of income was lost in Corona. With his two daughters, he is now struggling to make ends meet. So far no help has been received from any organization. Razia said Corona was diagnosed on April 1 despite a fever on March 25. He was admitted to the hospital on the same day. The patient did not improve as he did not get proper oxygen in the hospital. Roman died while undergoing treatment.

It is learned that a maximum of 9 journalists died in a month with corona and corona symptoms in June last year. In January-February of this year, the number of attacks on journalists decreased a lot. No one was attacked from February 28 to March 7. Since then, journalists have been attacked every day since March 26. 122 people have been infected in the last one month.

Till last Wednesday, 1,263 workers of 212 media outlets have been affected by corona in the country. Of these, 1,123 people have recovered. Among the victims are 945 journalists from Dhaka and 326 from outside Dhaka. The affected journalists’ organizations include 126 newspapers, 32 television channels, 45 online portals, 5 radios and 2 news agencies. It is being speculated that there may be more affected journalists outside of this. In addition, most of the family members of the victims have also been reported to be infected with corona. No account was found for them.

However, the media workers are not getting any benefit like others even though they are working to prevent Corona as a front line fighter. They say that many of the front-runners received encouragement but did not get the media. Many media workers are not getting regular salaries and are losing their jobs. Journalists demand to ensure at least medical priority benefits for media workers like health workers.

In this regard, senior journalist Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul told Prothom Alo that if a journalist dies, his family can be assisted by the welfare trust. And the government can provide benefits under the social security sector for other media workers besides journalists. The safety of journalists can be ensured through personal awareness, institutional protection and government initiatives.