The Press Emblem Campaign, PEC has revealed that six hundred and two (602) journalist have died of COVID-19 in 59 countries between March to December 2020.
This was disclosed in a press statement issued by PEC in Geneva, highlighting that 602 deaths in ten months means, “60 per month, or two per day on average.”
“Of the 602 journalists who have died from Covid-19 since March 1, 2020, Latin America leads with more than half of the victims, or 303 deaths. Asia follows with 145 dead, ahead of Europe 94, North America 32 and Africa 28,” it stated.
The PEC deplores the many preventable deaths. It supports, when necessary, requests for financial assistance for the families of journalists who have died from Covid-19. It also shares the view that media workers should have priority access to immunization upon request.
“Because of their profession, journalists who go into the field to testify are particularly exposed to the virus. Some of them, specially freelancers and photographers, can’t just work from home”, said PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen.
The statement reads further that, “Peru remains the country with the heaviest death toll, with 93 media workers who have died from the coronavirus since March (according to the Peruvian National Association of Journalists). Brazil is second with 55 victims, ahead of India (53 dead) and Mexico (45 dead).
“Ecuador follows with 42 dead and Bangladesh 41. Italy is the most bereaved European country with 37 journalists dead from Covid-19.
“In the United States, 31 victims of Covid-19 have been counted among the media. Pakistan comes next with 22 dead, followed by Turkey 17, Great Britain 13, Panama 11 and Bolivia 9 deaths.
“Afghanistan, Dominican Republic, Nigeria and Russia each have 8 victims, followed by Argentina, Colombia, Honduras 7 deaths in each country. In Nicaragua, Spain and Venezuela, six journalists have died in each country. In France, five deaths from Covid-19 have been announced.
“Three journalists died from Covid-19 in each of these countries: Cameroon, Egypt, Guatemala, Iran, Nepal, Salvador, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“Two deaths are known in the following countries: Algeria, Indonesia, Morocco, Paraguay, Portugal and Sweden.
“Finally, the PEC has identified at least one death in the following 21 countries: Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Iraq (Kurdistan), Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Uganda, Tajikistan, Togo, and Uruguay.”
PEC added that, “In December, the largest increases were recorded in Brazil (+12 in one month) and Mexico (+11). The difference between the 489 victims recorded until the end of November by the PEC and the 602 until December 31 does not mean that 113 journalists died from the coronavirus in December: indeed, deaths from previous weeks were only known and recorded in December in some countries (such as in Italy, Pakistan and Turkey).”
PEC however believes that, “the actual number of victims is certainly higher, as the cause of journalists’ deaths is sometimes not specified or their deaths not announced. In some countries, there is no reliable information.”