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Media workers at risk

FIFTY journalists were tested for the coronavirus in Quetta recently. The results of no less than 27 more than half turned out to be positive. It is yet another reminder that the list of those who advocate protection against the virus but do not always practise what they promote doesn`t end with the government.

Media workers, in their rush to get the news, are constantly seen exposing themselves to the danger the virus presents. Unfortunately, news-disseminating organisations are prone to crossing the line very frequently, thus exposing their staff to risks that would not normally fall in the category of the usual occupational hazards. Bad news related to these journalistic exposures that emanate from pursuing dangerous trends in the cut-throat information market is then only to be expected, as we have seen in the case of Quetta which is not the only instance of media workers testing positive. Journalists and their co-workers, in the latest race to rule the airwaves, have been struck by Covid-19 in other parts of the country as well. In the grimmest example, offices have been sealed and staffers forced into quarantine. The latest evidence provided by Quetta only reinforces the bitter irony that those who have been calling out for everyone else to take protective measures have themselves been forced to work without sufficient safety measures in place.

So where does this leave those who employ these reformers, opinion makers and information disseminators who have been trying to guide the public to a safe path in order to protect them from infection? The restraint the professionals in the field and media trade unions have been pleading for has been thrown to the wind as the force of the market brutally lifts the old-fashioned missionmask to reveal yet one more time tendencies that call for urgent pro-worker action. Providing protective gear to those exposed in the field must precede a commitment by media owners who hardly need to be sensitised about the dangers they are pushing others into.