More scribes die of Covid-19, JFA expresses anguish

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to take its toll as more journalists are dying because of novel coronavirus aggravated complications across India. Lately, Mysuru based senior journalist Pavan Hettur (35), who worked for Kannada daily Prajavani succumbed to the infection at a private hospital. He was admitted after testing Covid-19 positive and passed away on 18 October 2020.

Days back Patna based photojournalist Krishna Mohan Sharma (63), worked for Times of India, died of Covid-19 complications on 15 October while undergoing treatment at AIIMS, New Delhi. The same day, senior cricket journalist & commentator Kishore Bhimani (81), acknowledged as an illustrious son of Bengal died at a Kolkata based private hospital after contracting Covid-19.

As India has lost nearly 50 working journalists to the new-found virus infection, Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) repeated its appeal to every media person to be careful and cautious while reporting the pandemic from the ground. JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, while terming the journalists as corona-warriors along with the practicing doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police personnel, etc, expressed shock at the higher stake of loss compared to worldwide media corona-casualties of around 400.

The robust Indian media family lost at least twelve journalists to corona-complications within September. Ludhiana based veteran journalist Ashwani Kapoor (70), who worked for highly circulated newspaper Punjab Kesari, succumbed to Covid-19 at a private hospital on 29 September. Guwahati based news presenter in All India Radio Golap Saikia (52) died with corona-infections on 26 September at a city-based private hospital.

Patna’s senior journalist Arun Kumar Verma (68), who was associated with various Prasar Bharti outlets died during Covid-19 treatment on 22 September. Indore journalist Manoj Binwal (55), who was associated with Hindi newspaper Prajatantra, died of the virus infection while undergoing treatment on 20 September. A day back, Agra’s journalist Ami Adhar Nidar (50), who worked for widely circulated DainikJagaran, passed away with the infection.

Jammu based scribe Anil Srivastava (68), who was associated with United News of India, succumbed to Covid-19 on 18 September at a government run hospital. Same day Jabalpur’s journalist Harish Choubey (60), who worked for popular Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, expired with the coronavirus infection. Aurangabad based journalist Rahul Dolare (49) died on 14 September at a government hospital. The same day, Chennai’s popular journalist-actor Florent C Pereira (67) died of Covid-19.

Punjab’s Abohar based journalist Naresh Bajaj (57), who was associated with SachKahoon newspaper, succumbed to the virus complications on 10 September. Ravinder Kumar (30) from Himachal Pradesh, who worked for Dainik Jagran, died of the virus infection on 9 September. Assam’s Udalguri based newspaper correspondent Dhaneswar Rabha (35) died at Guwahati medical college hospital on 6 September. Rabha is the first scribe in northeast India to succumb to Covid-19 complications. Next day, Barak valley’s senior journalist Ashim Dutta (65) passed away at Silchar medical college hospital.

Months back, Dhanbad’s journalist Sanjiv Sinha, Gorakhpur’s photo journalist Rajiv Ketan, Mumbai’s senior film-journalist Shyam Sarma, Nellore’s scribe Narayanam Seshacharyulu, Pune’s television reporter Pandurang Raikar, Kanpur’s television journalist Neelanshu Shukla, Patiala’s photojournalist Jai Deep, Tirupati’s television reporter Madhusudan Reddy and video journalist M Parthasarathy succumbed to the virus infections.

The list also includes senior journalist Prakash Deshmukh from Mumbai, veteran journalist Ashok Churi from Palghar, television reporter Ramanathan & news videographer E Velmurugan from Chennai, news presenter Davinder Pal Singh from Chandigarh, television scribe Manoj Kumar from Hyderabad, print-journalist Pankaj Kulashrestha from Agra, Orissa’s journalists Simanchal Panda, K Ch Ratnam and Priyadarshi Patnaik. Kolkata’s photojournalist Ronny Roy became the first scribe in India to lose his battle against the virus infection.

Expressing concern over hundreds of Guwahati-based media persons contracting the virus, the JFA also appeals to media group managements to come clean on their employees’ corona health status as part of their social responsibility. The forum added that while news channels and newspapers continue identifying other Covid-19 patients, they collectively remain silent when their employees turn positive (except a few infected scribes made personal revelations in social media).