Over 400 Indian journalists died of COVID-19 on field duty

According to a database compiled by the Network of Women in Media India (NWMI) at least 474 Indian journalists have died of COVID-19 by the end of May. In most cases, the deaths were directly linked to them reporting from the field. 

Journalist P Sainath told local media that journalists reporting from rural areas without easy access to vaccines or good healthcare are at the greatest risk. 

Journalists in India say there is an urgent need for timely medical care for journalists. They ask for a vaccination plan for them similar to the ones for other frontline workers. 

At the end of May, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced that its Journalist Welfare Scheme would grant Rs 5 lakh ($6,858) to the kin of journalists who died of COVID-19. Some state governments – including Kerala and Tamil Nadu – have said they will also give compensation of Rs 10 lakh ($13,712). 

However, R Shankar, general secretary of the Madras Union of Journalists, warns that this support is only offered to accredited journalists and accreditation is hard to come by.