after receiving death-threats from unknown individuals. Shubham Mani Tripathi (25), a born patriot who worked for Kanpur-based Hindi daily KampuMail, was shot dead in Brahmnagar, Unnao locality on 19 June by two shooters as he was returning home on a two-wheeler. The police arrested three individuals suspecting their role in the killing.India as a whole witnessed nine incidents of journo-killing in 2019, but only one incident factually emerged as a case of targeted murder.The victim (Andhra journalist K Satyanarayana, 45), who worked for Telugu daily newspaper AndhraJyothy, faced the fate because of his journalistic exercises. He was hacked to death on 15 October. Local scribes informed Satyanarayana was targeted in earlier occasions too.Others who were killed last year include Jobanpreet Singh (Punjab’s online journalist who was killed in police firings), Vijay Gupta (Kanpur-based scribe shot dead by close relatives), Radheyshyam Sharma (Kushinagar-based journalist murdered by neighbours), Ashish Dhiman (Saharanpur-based photojournalist shot dead by neighbours), Chakresh Jain (Shahgarh-based journalist died of serious burn injuries), Anand Narayan (news channel contributor of Mumbai murdered by miscreants) and Nityanand Pandey (magazine editor in Thane killed
by one of his employees).Kerala’s journalist K Muhammed Basheer lost his life as a government officer driven vehicle mowed down him. Guwahati-based scribe Naresh Mitra died after sustaining head injuries in a mysterious accident inside the city. Bihar’s scribe Pradeep Mandal was targeted by miscreants, but he survived luckily. Mandal contributed a number of news items against the local liquor mafia for Dainik Jagaran and invited enmities from the goons.Contrary to number of Indian journalists, eliminated by assailants, the novel corona virus outbreak has taken a bigger toll as more media persons died of Covid-19 complications. Thousands of journalists were infected with the virus in different States as they continue to play the role of Covid-warriors along with the on-duty doctors, nurses, sanitation workers and police personnel.Lately, a veteran journalist from Maharashtra and editor of Palghar Times, Ashok Churi died at a Palghar based hospital, who later tested positive for Covid-19. Similarly, a young photo-journalist from Punjab (Jai Deep) working for a Patiala based newspaper succumbed to corona virus related ailments. Earlier two Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) based journalists namely Madhusudan Reddy and M Parthasarathy died of the virus infections.Tamil Nadu television reporter Ramanathan and Orissa journalists namely Simanchal Panda, K Ch Ratnam & Priyadarshi Patnaik also lost their battles against the virus. New Delhi based scribe Tarun Sisodia killed himself undergoing treatment at AIIMS. The printer-publisher of AsomiyaKhabar (Rantu Das) died at a Guwahati hospital, who later tested positive for Covid-19.The casualty list also includes veteran journalist Javed Jivani (Maharashtra), news videographer E Velmurugan (TN), news presenter Davinder Pal Singh (Chandigarh), television scribe Manoj Kumar (Telengana), journalist Pankaj Kulashrestha (UP) and photo-journalist Ronny Roy (West Bengal).Even though many employed journalists turned positive for Covid-19, the concerned newspapers, news channels and news portals avoided making news out of the development. Some infected media persons however made personal revelation in the social media. Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) criticized the media outlets for their selective reporting over the issue asserting, “Need not to remind that it is the duty and responsibility for media outlets to report correctly about the Covid-19 warriors including the victims within the fraternity.”Meanwhile, the pandemic has virtually crashed the mainstream media industry. Worried owners have already stopped publishing hundreds of physical newspapers and those surviving managements closed down their editions in different localities, reduced the number of pages, went to cut salaries and even laid off employees including senior journalists citing the reason of shrinking advertisement revenues. Amazingly, only a few could raise voices against the arbitrary decisions of media managements and the rest continue to carry on whatever the level of humiliation in work places.The author is a northeast India-based journalist
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Nava Thakuria, who serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the glove, and can be contacted at email@example.com
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