‘Ensure journalists’ professional safety during Covid-19’

Journalists and eminent educationists in a joint statement on Sunday urged the government, private sectors along with media owners and editors, to ensure journalists’ safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. The recommendations were made in a statement signed by 60 renowned educationists from public and private universities and 16 journalists from various media houses.
Prof Dr Sakhawat Ali Khan, Prof Dr Golam Rahman, Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique of Mass Communication and Journalism Department of Dhaka University are among the signatories.
Journalists Nadeem Quadir, Sukanta Gupta Alak, J E Mamun, Ashoke Chowdhury, Nazrul Islam Mithu, Munni Saha, Saiful Islam, also signed the joint statement.
We confront a multidimensional global uncertainty over Covid-19 pandemic, the statement said adding that “Each and every citizen of Bangladesh faces the crisis.”
“Tactics of maintaining physical distance were used to be safe from coronavirus,” said the statement adding that “Our social-physiological adherence and professional bond are urgent to be safe during this crisis.”
Concerned over some media-related news about the crisis, the joint statement said: “We’ve come to know that newspapers and televisions owners and authorities have decided not to give Eid bonus to journalists, officials and staff within one month after the arrival of coronavirus in March.”
“We’ve observed with concern that well-established and profitable market leaders have also reduced third/fourth of bonus for their staff and plans have been made to reduce journalists’ salary and sacking a big number of journalists without any payment,” the statement said.
The pandemic has affected livelihood, economics, and business, as well as the media because income has come down as there are fewer advertisements, they said.
Both the well-established and comparatively frail institutions have been affected that is making the situation harder for the media, the statement said.
“Don’t shut media houses and sack journalists,” the educationists and journalists urged media owners and editors.
They also suggested formulating a way concertedly to run the institutions by keeping all together.
Avoiding an old strategy of sacking staff, they urged the authorities to think of another way of running the institutions by keeping life and livelihood dynamic.
The educationists and journalists also urged the authorities to think of forming a joint-fund to overcome the media crisis during this pandemic.
The statement also said that the owners and editors have much better innovative ideas to keep their organisations active, reports UNB.