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MP, Odisha & Bihar declare journalists frontline workers; Centre still mum

Editors Guild has repeatedly urged the central government to classify scribes as frontline workers

KERALA: As the second wave of Covid2019 continues to wreak havoc in India, the states of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Bihar have declared journalists as frontline workers, so that the media community can avail prioritised vaccination against the deadly pathogen. 

"Corona vaccine will be given to journalists on a priority basis in the state. Journalists [are] doing their best during these pandemic times. They are making people aware of the dangers associated with coronavirus infection," tweeted Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday.

After classifying scribes as frontline warriors, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said that news mediapersons in the country are working hard to provide seamless newsfeed amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The decision from these two states comes at a time when the Editors Guild of India has urged the central government to assign journalists frontline worker status.  

"Few weeks ago, EGI had demanded that journalists be declared as frontline workers and be vaccinated on priority to protect them from the new variant. Despite the support from various state governments and media organisations, the central government has not responded to this request. Now, even though vaccination has been technically opened for all above 18 years of age, there is an acute shortage of vaccines. Therefore the Guild’s urgent demand that journalists be given priority along with other frontline workers," said the Guild in a recent statement. 

The body also urged all media organisations in the nation to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of their men and women in the field and in newsrooms.

A few days back, the Uttarakhand government had also classified journalists as frontline workers. The state’s CM Tirath Singh Rawat has ordered the vaccination of all journalists and representatives of media organisations. 

Last week, India reached the grim milestone of 4 lakh new Covid cases reported in a single day. On May 2, the country recorded over 3,68,000 fresh cases and 3,417 deaths. The total number of active cases in the country is now at 34,13,642. 

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