२०७९ जेष्ठ ११, बुधबार
May 25, 2022, Wednesday

3 journalists tested positive for coronavirus in Pakistan

At least three Pakistani reporters have tested positive for coronavirus, it has been revealed.

The news was broken on Twitter yesterday and then confirmed during the day that two journalists of News 24 HD TV and one working for AbbTakk TV had contracted COVID-19.

All three, whose names have not been disclosed, are based in Lahore, the capital of the eastern province of Punjab.

Mohsin Naqvi, CEO of a private news channel, confirmed the development and said: “We are investigating the possibility of further infected individuals by tests and have quarantined few staff members. We have and will continue to assure that all precautions possible are taken.”

He lamented the lack of safety kits for beat reporters.

“Most of the reporters doing coverage from hospitals asked me for safety kits. After our request to the federal government, they have taken up the responsibility for the treatment of only those reporters and their families who have tested positive,” Chairman All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC) Siddique Anzar told Anadolu Agency.

He said that reporters from smaller towns such as Dera Ismail Khan in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Larkana in southern Sindh province, besides being ill-equipped, were also facing financial difficulties because of delays in salaries.

While staffers in digital newsrooms have been asked to work from home, TV reporters have to be out in the field to update the masses.

A reporter, who reports for Hum News from Karachi, said: “Channels are demanding extensive coverage of this issue… we have to give live hits in every headline and bulletin but they haven’t provided us with any safety kits. I am roaming around in hospitals… I got my safety kit on my own, but many of the field reporters cannot even afford these.”

Apart from the above-mentioned issues, it is claimed that media houses haven’t been paid their advertising dues for long.

Hamid Mir, a senior journalist said: “I have even used safety kits in war zones that were very heavy but for corona, it is very light… hand gloves, masks, plastic capes, and sanitizers. We have demanded the government to pay the overdue bills of media houses that are around Rs6 billion such that their staff can get through this lockdown and take care of themselves.”

After Sindh, even the Punjab province announced a lockdown. Only essential services such as hospitals, grocery stores and pharmacies remain open.

Notably, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have called on media executives in Pakistan not to send large number of reporters into the filed.

“Everything must be put in place so that they can work from home and avoid any potential source of infection,” it said in a statement.

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