More than 600 journalists have died worldwide due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report from released by the Swiss organization Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), which calls for priority vaccination of media workers says.
The organization, based in Geneva and founded in June 2004 by a group of journalists from several countries, says however that it is not possible to differentiate between journalists who became infected at work and those who were infected in their private lives.
"Because of their profession, journalists who go into the field to inform are indeed particularly exposed to the virus. Some of them, especially freelancers and photographers, cannot only work at home," said PEC Secretary General Blaise Lempen in a statement.
Therefore, the organization calls for journalists to be treated as front-line workers and to be given priority vaccination, at their request.
According to the statistics of this NGO, 602 journalists have died from Covid-19 since March 2020: Latin America comes first with more than half of the victims (303 deaths), Asia follows with 145 deaths, ahead of Europe (94), North America (32) and Africa (28).
Peru is the country with the highest death toll (93 according to the Peruvian National Association of Journalists). Brazil is in second place with 55 victims, ahead of India (53), Mexico (45), Ecuador (42) and Bangladesh (41).
In the United States, 31 victims of Covid-19 were counted in the media world, according to the NGO.
Italy is the European country most mourning with 37 journalists dead of the new coronavirus.
In France, five deaths from Covid-19 have been announced, according to the press release.
The real number of victims worldwide is certainly higher, according to PEC, because the cause of death of journalists is sometimes not specified or their death not announced. And in some countries, there is no reliable information.
The PEC count is based on information from local media, national associations of journalists and the organization's regional correspondents.
The PEC, whose secretary general is a former journalist with the Swiss news agency ATS, campaigns for better protection for journalists in conflict and crisis zones.
Like many other NGOs whose work programme is directly linked to the goals and objectives of the United Nations, the organization has "special consultative status at the UN", allowing it to speak in certain debates at the UN Human Rights Council.
This organization counts the number of journalists killed around the world every year.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, it also counts those who have died because of Covid-19, and supports requests for financial aid when necessary for the families of journalists who have died from the coronavirus.