COVID-19 has Claimed the Lives of Over 1,500 Journalists Worldwide

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The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) announced in Geneva on June 7, 2021 that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 1,500 journalists in 77 countries around the world saying it documented a record number of deaths in May, with more than 200 deaths in that single month.

PEC General Secretary BlaiseLempen said “More than six journalists on average died per day as a result of Covid-19 in May, a sad record.” Of those who died, at least 95 (three deaths per day) have lost their lives in India where the pandemic has peaked in infections and 26 in Brazil (almost one death per day).

Blaise added: “Unfortunately, in developing countries, progress in immunization is insufficient for the pandemic to slow. Journalists remain a particularly exposed profession, on the front line, in the fight against the coronavirus.”

The PEC welcomed the fact that authorities in some countries took  steps to help the families of victimized journalists, which it said is recognition for their work in providing information during the pandemic. The PEC also commended  the countries which have included journalists among the priority groups for immunization, thus preventing new infections.

The group noted that the actual number of victims is certainly higher, as the cause of death is sometimes not specified, especially in Africa, and no reliable information is available in some countries. The statistics of journalists who have succumbed to the virus depend heavily on media coverage.

Giving the tally, PEC said media in India have paid the heaviest price for the novel corona virus, with at least 246 deaths since March 2020, adding other sources in India report more than 400 deaths (including all workers in the media), with many deaths in rural areas difficult to verify.

Brazil follows India closely with 239 journalists who died from the corona virus, ahead of Peru 163 and Mexico 112. Among  the top ten most affected countries are Colombia 65, Italy 58, Bangladesh 53, Ecuador 51, United States 49, Iran 32. Argentina  30, Great Britain 30, Dominican Republic 27, Pakistan 27, Turkey 27, Russia 21, Venezuela 20, Nepal 19, Bolivia 18, and Panama 16.

Victims have also been recorded since March 2020 in the following countries: Egypt 15, Spain 15, Ukraine 15, Honduras 12, Afghanistan 9, France 9, Nigeria 9, South Africa 9, Guatemala 8, Paraguay 8, Nicaragua 7, Uruguay 6, Kenya 5, Cuba 4, Morocco 4, Cameroon 3, Indonesia 3, Philippines 3, Salvador 3, Sweden 3, Zimbabwe 3, then with 2 victims in each country: Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Iraq, and Portugal. A victim has been recorded in 25 other countries.

By region, Latin America leads with more than half of the victims, or 795 recorded deaths (+ 122 since the previous count of April 30), ahead of Asia 406 (+ 152), Europe 192 (+ 17), Africa 57 (+ 1) and North America 51 (+ 4). The increase since April 30 (+296) includes deaths from previous months not recorded before.

The sources of the PEC are the national associations of journalists, the local media, the regional correspondents of the PEC and social networks.

List of victims can be viewed online at: www.pressemblem.ch.