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Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020 09:15 [IST]

Last Update: Wednesday, Sep 30, 2020 03:41 [IST]

Losing Indian media corona-warriors

As the Covid-19 pandemic has emerged as a severe health hazard to theIndian media fraternity more prominent journalists start falling preysto the disaster. Thousands of journalists along with other mediaemployees are infected with the novel corona virus as they have beenplaying the role of corona-warriors along with the practicing doctors,nurses, sanitation workers, police personnel etc.

India lately lost nine journalists to Covid-19 complications within eighteen days. The latest victim surfaces from Assam as a news presenter GolapSaikia(52) succumbed to Covid-19complications on 26 September  2020 in a private hospital. Thesoft-spoken gentleman used to work as a casual newsreader in All IndiaRadio Guwahati prior to which he presented news bulletins in GuwahatiDoordarshan along with private satellite news channels like  DY365,NewsLive, PrimeNews, etc.

Earlier, Indore (Madhya Pradesh) based senior journalist Manoj Binwaldied of the virus infection in the hospital. Binwal (55), who workedfor Hindi newspaper Prajatantra, was hospitalized after testingpositive for Covid-19 and breather his last on 20 September. A dayback, Agra based journalist Ami AdharNidar (50) died of the virusinfection at a Gurugram hospital. Associated with widely circulatedHindi newspaper DainikJagaran, the popular journalist was hospitalizedafter he tested positive for Covid-19.

Anil Srivastava (68) from Basti in Jammu locality succumbed toCovid-19 on 18 September died at a government hospital. Worked for theUnited News of India for many years, Srivastava also edited localnewspapers namely VicharParakh and PrakashTimes. Same day, Madhya
Pradesh lost one of its senior journalists to Covid-19. Harish Choubey(60), who worked for popular Hindi newspaper DainikBhaskar fromJabalpur, was hospitalized after testing positive for the virusinfection.

Aurangabad  based senior journalist  Rahul Dolare (49) died of theinfection on 14 September at a government hospital. He was associatedwith a local newspaper and hospitalized after complaining of mildfever. Chennai  based Tamil journalist-actor Florent C Pereira (67)also died same day in the hospital. Used to work for Kalaignar TV, Win
TV and Vijay TV,  Pereira  was hospitalized after he tested positivefor Covid-19.

Abohar (Punjab) based journalist  Naresh Bajaj (57) succumbed toCovid-19 complications on 10 September. Bajaj worked for SachKahoonnewspaper and he was very active as a frontline corona activist.

Ravinder Kumar (30) from Una (Himachal Pradesh) died of coronainfection  on 9 September. Working for DainikJagran, Kumar was sent tothe hospital after developing symptoms of Covid-19 and he died on theway. His cremation was conducted following Covid-19 protocols.

Assam earlier witnessed two Covid-19 journo-victims as Udalguri basedcorrespondent  DhaneswarRabha (35) breathed his last at Guwahatimedical college hospital on 6  September. Rabha is the first scribe inthe region to succumb to Covid-19 complications, who was otherwisesuffering from renal problems and went for regular dialysis. Next day,senior journalist Ashim Dutta passed away  atSilcharmedicalcollege hospital. Dutta (65), who worked for a Bengali daily in Barakvalley, was also suffering from kidney problems. He was admitted tothe hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

Weeks back, Dhanbad (Jharkhand) based senior journalist Sanjiv Sinha,Gorakhpur (UP) based photo journalist Rajiv Ketan, Mumbai based seniorfilm-journalist ShyamSarma, Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) based scribeNarayanamSeshacharyulu, Pune based television reporter  PandurangRaikar, Kanpur based television  journalist  Neelanshu Shukla, Patialabased photojournalist  Jai Deep, Tirupati based  television reporterMadhusudan Reddy & video journalist M Parthasarathy succumbed to theinfections.

The list also includes television reporter Ramanathan& newsvideographer E Velmurugan from Chennai, news presenter Davinder PalSingh from Chandigarh, television scribe Manoj Kumar from Hyderabad,print-journalist PankajKulashrestha from Agra,  Orissa’s journalists
Simanchal Panda, K ChRatnam&PriyadarshiPatnaik, etc.Kolkata based photojournalist Ronny Roy became the first Indian scribeto lose his battle against the dreaded virus. New Delhi scribe TarunSisodia  killed himself undergoing Covid-19 treatment at AIIMS.

Maharashtra’s veteran journalist Ashok Churi, who edited Marathiweekly PalgharTimes, died at  aPalghar based  hospital, who latertested positive for Covid-19. The printer-publisher of AsomiyaKhabar(Rantu Das) also died at a Guwahati hospital and later testedpositive for the virus infection.

With all these casualties, the pandemic has also crashed the Indiamainstream media industry. Worried owners have already stoppedpublishing hundreds of physical newspapers and those survivingmanagements closed down their editions in different localities,reduced the number of pages, went to cut salaries and even lay offemployees including senior journalists citing the reason of shrinkingadvertisement revenues. And as usual, few editors only could raisevoices against the arbitrary retrenchments of managements and ongoinghumiliations in the work places.

(The author is a northeast India based journalist and media activist. Email:

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi