MK Stalin declares journalists as 'frontline workers', now eligible for priority vaccination in Tamil Nadu
Chief minister-elect of Tamil Nadu M K Stalin on Tuesday announced that journalists working amid the raging coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in the state will be considered as ‘frontline workers.’
"All media persons working in newspapers, visual and audio media at the risk of their lives due to rain, sun and floods will be considered as frontline employees in Tamil Nadu," the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief announced on Twitter.
"Rights of Priority Employees - Privileges will be given to them accordingly," he added in the tweet.
The journalists working in the state will now be eligible for priority vaccination against the Covid-19, a viral respiratory disease.
Earlier, several states like Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Punjab also brought journalists under the ambit of frontline workers.
On Sunday, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also declared journalists as Covid-19 warriors as she said that they "have taken risk and worked on the field all these days like other Covid warriors."
The other states are Bihar and Uttarakhand.
In April, the Federation of All India Medical Association wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the same which gained support from many including Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. "Journalists cannot work from home, and have put their lives and health at risk on a daily basis to cover both the Covid-19 pandemic and other matters of public concern, including matters critical to health and safety of the public, and critical to our democracy," read the association’s letter.
"While others have the option to walk away from large crowds, or to avoid members of the public that don’t follow ICMR health guidelines, these journalists repeatedly put their own safety at risk to document what is occurring and inform their communities – large and small. As a result, we have seen journalists become infected, hospitalised and even, unfortunately, succumb to Covid-19," it added in the letter.
India is battling with the devastating second wave of Covid-19 which pushed the nationwide tally to over 20-million and the death toll to more than 220,000.
On Tuesday, the country logged 357,229 fresh cases of infections and 3,449 new fatalities in a span of 24-hours.