Current Affairs

Despite over 150 affected by Covid-19, govt doesn’t recognize journalists as front-liner

ISLAMABAD: Despite more than 150 journalists have been affected by the Covid-19, the government doesn’t recognize their services as front-liner, deplored Freedom Network Executive Director Iqbal Khattak while speaking in a webinar on Tuesday.

Khattak said Freedom Network has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) to help and support the Covid-19 affected journalists.

He said we have so far listed more than 100 coronavirus affected journalists and these are the journalists who have shared their test reports with them, adding that the number of affected journalists can be higher because many journalists avoided sharing their test documents.

However, PFUJ has developed a list of more than150 affected journalists affected by the Covid-19, he maintained.

The senior journalist said Freedom Network is soon starting a financial support program for journalists, particularly belong to the far-flung regions of Pakistan.

The webinar session was arranged by Global Investigative Journalism Network and was moderated by investigative journalist Umar Cheema.

Waqar Bhatti, a senior reporter at The News, said the Covid-19 has changed the pattern of health reporting. He said now health reporting is not restricted to reporting about theft of medicines from hospitals or negligence of doctors during duty, it is much more than that.

Bhatti said journalists now will have to improve their skills and to learn new things that have emerged in reporting.

Sharing his experiences, Bhatti said, some of his fellow reporters did not even believe that coronavirus exists, adding that if a reporter himself is not clear about an issue how he/she will be able to report on it.

Mahim Mehar, Samaa Digital Editor, said journalists should do investigative stories, but at the same time they should also report on some basic information related stories, which will be helpful in catching the attention of more audiences.

Sharing her own style of reporting during the Covid-19, she said our digital media reported a list of laboratories where Covid-19 testing facilities are available and on what helplines Covid-19 patients can get access for help.

Mehar maintained that such stories drew more attention from readers than usual stories.

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