The role of media, which is considered as the fourth pillar of Indian democracy, has finally been acknowledged by several state governments.
Apart from the healthcare unit and departments like police, sanitation and hygiene, several state governments have decided to declare media personnel and journalists as frontline COVID-19 warriors, citing their services to the nation.
Like the other frontline workers of the nation, Indian media is also playing a major role in fighting the COVID-19 crisis by providing real-time vital information and details related to the pandemic, making people aware and updated.
By declaring journalists as frontline workers, it will also make them eligible for getting priority in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
These are the states that declared their media personnel as frontline workers:
The Bihar government declared all journalists accredited with the Information and Public Relations Department as frontline workers.
“Corona vaccine will be given to journalists on a priority basis in the state. Journalists have been performing their roles in a good way during the pandemic. They are making people aware of the dangers of corona infection,” CM Nitish Kumar tweeted.
Odisha CM, Naveen Patnaik, declared journalists as COVID-19 warriors and announced an ex gratia of INR 15 lakh for the next of kin of journalists who lose their lives to COVID-19 while on duty.
“As many as 6,944 working journalists of the state have been covered under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana. They are getting health insurance cover of INR 2 lakh each,” the state government said in a statement.
“Since the time the lockdown started and the country eased it gradually, even officers and employees of the information department have been constantly involved in communication and spreading awareness about correct information in tasks related to fighting COVID-19,” the Uttarakhand government said in a statement and declared its journalists as frontline workers.
“Therefore, we have decided to declare all accredited journalists as frontline workers in Madhya Pradesh. They will be taken care of,” CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a statement while declaring all journalists as frontline workers.
The state government of Punjab said that all accredited and yellow card journalists in Punjab would be considered as COVID-19 frontline warriors.
CM Yogi Adityanath led government announced that all the media professionals and their families would be given priority in the vaccination drive.
Apart from these states, West Bengal’ CM Mamata Banerjee and Tamil Nadu’s next CM MK Stalin have also declared all the media personnel as the COVID-19 frontline workers in their respective states.
Though I am writing this from home, there is a sense of relief and happiness for those journalists and media workers who have been on the frontline, reporting since day one. Thank you for your service to the nation!