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Home >News >India >Odisha declares journalists as 'frontline Covid warriors', assures 15 lakh ex gratia for scribes who die of virus

Stating that journalists are doing a service to the state amid the raging coronavirus pandemic, Odisha has decided to declare the working professionals as 'frontline Covid warriors'.

"Working journalists are doing a great service to the state by providing seamless news feed, making people aware on Covid-related issues and they are a great support for the war against Covid," the Chief Minister's Office said in a statement.

"The decision will benefit 6,944 working journalists of the state. It may be mentioned here that as many as 6,944 working journalists of the state have been covered under Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana. They are getting health insurance cover of 2 lakh each," the statement added.

Odisha has also announced an ex gratia of 15 lakh for the next of kin of journalists who die of Covid-19 while performing their duty.

Prior to this, Uttarakhand had declared journalists and representatives of media organisations as frontline workers and ordered for them to get vaccinated.

"During the ongoing pandemic, the journalists in the state worked like frontline workers in providing the required information to the people about Covid-19 which helped the government significantly," said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat.

As coronavirus infections surge, the Editors Guild of India recently asked the central government to declare journalists as frontline workers, thereby bringing them under the priority group for receiving anti-Covid jabs.

The guild also urged all media organisations to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of their scribes.

In a statement, the Guild condoled the deaths of journalists who have died because of Covid-19 over the past year.

"In April 2021 itself, more than 52 journalists died because of the virus. Further, according to the Delhi based Institute of Perception Studies, more than 100 journalists have died since the lockdown was first declared from April 1, 2020," the Guild said in a statement.

"Many of these were brave journalists who had been reporting on the worsening pandemic and bringing to fore stories on the great human tragedy that has been unfolding before us. It also includes editors and other members of the editorial teams who have ensured that newsrooms keep churning out these stories without any break," it said.

The guild said it is extremely distressing that the central government has yet not taken any steps to hasten the vaccination of journalists over the last few months.

Many of them were freelancers and hence were not insured, it added.

"Others who worked for media organisations did not necessarily enjoy the assurance and comfort of being insured by their companies," it said.

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