New Delhi : The Indian Journalists Union welcomes State governments of Assam and Odisha for providing life insurance coverage to journalists and government of Uttar Pradesh for its directive against termination of service or salary cuts in the media. However, it expresses dismay over the Union government’s silence on its request to provide insurance cover to journalists across the board like it has done for health workers.
On Monday the Assam government announced life insurance coverage of Rs 50 lakhs to journalists covering Covid-19, whereas the Odisha government through an order announced Rs 15 lakh compassionate assistance to families of working journalists who may lose life to COVID-19, with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik tweeting ‘journalists are dedicatedly working to raise awareness about the pandemic during this difficult times.’
Earlier, in an order dated 22 April, Uttar Pradesh’s Labour Commissioner has written to regional deputy labour commissioners to ensure media houses neither terminate the services of journalists, nor reduce their salaries nor send then on leave without pay during the lockdown. Making a note of some complaints of lay-offs of media personnel and non-payment of huge dues to them by some media organisations (Print/digital), the Labour Commissioner has asked officers to inform the government of the action taken in this regard.
In a statement, IJU President Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General Sabina Inderjit said it joins the Journalists Union of Assam, Odisha Journalists Union and Working Journalist Union UP in welcoming the positive response of these governments in finally recognising the dedication of journalists in not only covering the COVID-19 related issues but also generating mass awareness among the people of the States, while putting their health and lives at risk.
At the same time, the IJU reiterated its demand to the Union government that as media has been declared as an essential service, it must provide Rs 50 lakh insurance cover to all media employees like it has for doctors, nurses and healthcare workers.