The coronavirus pandemic is an non selective monster which has wrecked many lives world over, it has killed thousands and its effects have put many lives in distress as well.
It has taken the people’s lives, freedoms, taken away food from their tables and milked many pockets dry.
Meanwhile, the world refused to give its citizens away to the thirsty and marauding pandemic. The human family summoned all its armies and waged a war against the pandemic.
Some have drawn their swords, other fight it using AK47s, (seen in many cities with their masks on), some others use stethoscopes, tablets, and injections and there is another band of fighters who use pens and notebooks to fight this common enemy, members of the press.
On Sunday 3 May 2020, the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day, this year’s commemoration came at the time the globe is fighting a deadly pandemic.
Journalists have not been spared by the pandemic and it’s effects, as they dedicate themselves to join the war against the enemy like any other fighters in the battlefield.
As for Zimbabwe, the novel coronavirus claimed the life of a young, fine, and dedicated Journalist, Zororo Makamba, who had just returned from a foreign trip.
The role of the media in fight against coronavirus can not be over-emphasized.
Commenting on the role of the media, United States of America, Department of State Assistant Secretary Robert Destro, said: the press is vital during a pandemic, to share reliable, accurate and timely information.
Sadly, it has been noted that some journalists are just equipping themselves with only pens and notebooks, as they go around reporting on coronavirus, endangering their lives in the process.
And, calls have been made for members of the media to take necessary precautionary measures as they go about their duties.
In Zimbabwe, most of them being freelancers because of lack of employment, have exposed themselves as they lack proper resources.
Tendai Chitate, a freelance journalist has since urged fellow media practitioners to take precautions, such as the wearing of masks and social distancing seriously.
He added that it is of no use to expose oneself to the virus and end up sick or dead; and as a result, not able to tell the story.
“You can not report or produce a story when you are dead. It is important to safeguard your life first, live and tell the story,” he said.
Another Journalist, agreed that it doesn’t pay to rush to hotspots in an attempt to get a scoop, while putting one’s life at risk.
“Safety should always come first,” said the Journalist who declined to be named.
Apparently, according to the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) many journalists were exposing themselves to danger as they go about reporting on the global pandemic. PEC says as a result, many have fallen ill from Covid-19, in the process.
The PEC said since March 1 2020, it had registered the deaths of 55 media workers across 23 countries from the virus.
PEC however, pointed out that it remained uncertain if all of them had become infected on the job. However, the nature of their jobs exposes them, hence the need for extra care.
“Journalists are at great risk in this health crisis because they must continue to inform, by going to hospitals, interviewing doctors, nurses, political leaders, specialists, scientists, patients,” PEC recently said in a statement.
PEC adds: “It said that in a number of countries “indispensable protective measures” like physical distancing, quarantines and mask wearing had not been applied, especially early on in the outbreak.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) sums it up: “In a global outbreak of disease, journalists cannot cover the story from self-quarantine. We need to go to the field, and there are risks of being infected.
“The CPJ produced a detailed advisory for journalists covering COVID-19 which includes pre-assignment preparations, tips for avoiding infection in affected areas, travel planning, and post-assignment cautions.”