Islamabad, Pakistan: Journalist bodies in Pakistan have expressed concerns after 25 journalists tested Positive of COVID-19.
Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) has demanded the government to ensure protection of working journalists from COVID-19 and asked the government to provide them (journalists) COVID-19 Protection Kits.
So far 25 journalists including 16 in capital city of Pakistan Islamabad have been tested positive and a private television channel ARY News has closed down its Islamabad Bureau till further orders.
As a precautionary measure random testing was done in ARY Isb office ,8 reported positive out of 20 tests, 2 have shown symptoms.We have closed our isb office ,all staff will be tested and office to be sanitised.Till all staff is tested employees have been asked to stay at home.
— Salman Iqbal ARY (@Salman_ARY) April 27, 2020
President Baizad Saleemi, Secretary M.B Soomro, Secretary Information Ali Shar and entire body of PRA have demanded immediate ban on reporting and coverage of Quarantine Centres of COVID-19 because photographers and reporters are vulnerable to pandemic as they do not have protection kits.
PRA also raised issue of delay in releasing salaries of journalists and firing from jobs. PRA leadership met Chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Muhammad Saleem Baig on Monday and demanded to action against owners of television channels who are busy in downsizing, cutting half salaries of employees and delaying salaries of their workers.
Senior journalist and Chief Editor of DND News Agency Agha Iqrar Haroon has demanded Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and other media rights bodies to announce immediate ban for coverage of political and official events all over the country to save working journalists from COVID-19. He also demanded owners of newspapers, television channels and news agencies to reduce coverage of events and cover only disasters like natural disasters or serious crime scene. He maintained that political parties and government should release news of their events and press conferences must be held virtually.