COVID-19 pandemic: Three Pakistani journalists tested positive

 Two journalists working with News 24 HD TV and one with AbbTakk TV had contracted the virus.

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A media source has revealed that at least three Pakistani TV journalists working in the field, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Two journalists working with News 24 HD TV and one with AbbTakk TV had contracted the virus.

All three journalists, whose names have not been disclosed, are based in Lahore.

The CEO 24 NewsHD, Mohsin Naqvi, confirmed the development and said, “We are inspecting the possibility of further infected people by getting tests done and have quarantined a few staff members. We have and will continue to make sure that all precautions possible are taken.”

Meanwhile, the head of a newspaper union claimed three more reporters (2 in Punjab and 1 in Karachi) are infected from the virus.

Safety Kits

The Chairman of the All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC), Siddique Anzar, told the source, “Most of the reporters covering hospitals asked me for safety kits. After our request, the government has taken up the responsibility for the treatment of only those reporters who have tested positive.”

Anzar further said, “Reporters from smaller towns are also facing financial difficulties because of delays in salaries.”

Moreover, individuals employed in digital newsrooms have been asked to work from home, while TV reporters have to be out in the field to update people.

Extensive Coverage 

A Hum News reporter, Sibte Hassan, from Karachi, said, “News Channels are demanding extensive coverage of the coronavirus. We have to give live updates in every headline and bulletin, but they have not 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 kits.”

A senior journalist, Hamid Mir, said, “I have even used safety kits in very heavy war zones, but for the corona, it is very light- hand gloves, masks, plastic capes, and sanitizers. We have demanded the government to pay the unpaid bills of media houses that are around PKR 6 billion.”

In the face of the pandemic, a leading international non-profit and non-governmental organization, Reporters without Borders (RSF), have called on media executives in Pakistan not to send a large number of reporters into the field.

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