I&B ministry asks scribes to stay safe while reporting on COVID-19

Advisory comes after journalists in Mumbai and Tamil Nadu test positive for novel coronavirus

In a recent instance, 53 of 171 media persons who took COVID-19 test in Mumbai, tested positive for the virus. Photo for representational purpose only: PTI

In the wake of a large number of journalists testing positive for COVID-19, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Wednesday (April 22) issued an advisory to print and electronic media, calling on journalists covering coronavirus-related incidents to take precautions.

The advisory also asked the management of media houses to take necessary care of their field as well as office staff.

“It has come to the notice of the ministry that a large number of media persons have recently contracted COVID-19 while covering the happenings in certain parts of the country,” it said.

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“In view of the fact that media persons, including reporters, cameramen, photographers, etc. are covering incidents relating to COVID-19 in various parts of the country involving travel, amongst others, to containment zones, hotspots and other COVID-affected areas, it is advised that all such media persons may take due health and related precautions while performing their duties,” the advisory said.

The advisory comes a day after the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Delhi decided to arrange COVID-19 tests for media persons. Some journalists from a Tamil news TV channel in Chennai tested positive for the infection in a fresh incident involving scribes.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) during a special camp organised at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai on April 16 and 17 for COVID-19 testing of scribes, collected swab samples of 171 media persons, including electronic and print media journalists, photographers and cameramen.

Out of the 171 media persons, 53 tested positive for the virus.

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Expressing shock over the Mumbai incident, I&B minister Prakash Javdekar on Monday had said an advisory will be issued to all newspaper and media establishments to ensure that adequate precautions are taken.

(With inputs from agencies)