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Covid-19 and Journalists! Exemption from ‘lockdown’ okay, but is there any relief from virus

3 min read

Bengaluru: Two have died and the number of people testing positive for pandemic Coronavirus in the State has crossed 50 mark.

The central government has announced lockdown till April 14, as an off shoot of Janata Curfew which was promulgated across the nation on March 22.

Between this, Karnataka Government experimented with lockdown in nine districts from March 23 focusing on those districts where the cases have been reported till date.

And to enforce all these, section 144 CrpC is invoked to impose curfew in the State, that mainly restricts unlawful Assembly of people, in the group of five and above. To convey all this to the people, we need media and publicity of any kind is publicity. And, it’s most inevitable at the time of crisis like what it is in the wake of Covid-19.

While the media houses appeared to have scored a brownie point by printing a common editorial in Kannada, in its bid to get rid of the myth that handling newspapers may cause the spread of virus, there has been repeated announcements that ” both print media and electronic media are exempted from curfew”.

However, the moot question is, can anybody even guarantee the “exemption from virus”.

Journalists are more vulnerable irrespective of tony places ( as a journalist who attended the outgoing press meet of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamalnath has tested positive later) and decrepit locations they visit to highlight the issues, mainly that remain to be addressed at the time of Coronavirus.

Barring a few media houses which have been spending their wherewithal to ensure masks, sanitisers and other necessary precautionary measures for their staff, not all are that generous in loosening their purse strings.

On the other hand, in Mysuru and Bengaluru, the newspaper hawkers have decided to suspend services till March 31. If the situation worsens, it may be extended till April 14.

In some cases, the readers themselves have restrained paper boys from delivering papers at least till March 31. Strangely, some of the media houses are insisting on educating the masses against the myth being circulated about the ” Virus caused by newspapers”.

It’s a welcome move as a news can be considered fake until and unless it is disproved to convince others. But, when it is widely believed that social distancing is the key and better to avoid stepping outside the houses, can anybody guarantee journalists their health.

When most of the newspapers in foreign countries, are closed due to the fear of virus, why can’t it be replicated in the country and Karnataka. When we have alternative in digital media, especially majority of the publications having their online versions, it would be better to make use of the technology to hilt. At least in the interest of the staff, who in normal conditions too work on a warfooting in the interest of breaking news.

Given the arguments over losing revenue, it is a known fact to those in the realm that, it’s only newspapers that are undersold (at the price much below the cost involved in printing them). It’s a profit again for sometime, if the printing is stopped in the interest of all, mainly the frontline staff.

– Team Mysoorunews

Mysooru News

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