New Delhi : In the wake of a large number of media persons contracting COVID-19, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory to print and electronic media on Wednesday, 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.
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. “Management of media houses is requested to take necessary care of their field staff as well as office staff,” it 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. Also, during a special camp organized at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai on April 16 and 17 for COVID-19 testing of scribes, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) collected swab samples of 171 media persons, including electronic and print media journalists, photographers and cameramen. Out of the 171 media persons, 53 have tested positive for coronavirus. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar had expressed shock on Monday over the Mumbai incident involving media persons and said an advisory is being issued to all newspaper and media establishments to ensure that adequate precautions are taken.