HARARE – The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists is deeply worried by the number of media practitioners who are dying from COVID-19.
At least six have succumbed to the virus since the beginning of this year.
The union wants authorities and media houses to make sure reporters are safe while doing their jobs.
The latest journalists to succumb to COVID-19, include state broadcaster ZBC journalist Tawanda Gudhlanga, and former Voice of America journalist Sandra Nyaira.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president Michael Chideme said, “our encouragement is to the authorities that, let’s stop press conferences lets stop physical contacts with journalists, lets do virtual meetings so that we don’t compromise our pressmen everybody needs the journalists to tell their story, you can’t tell the story when journalists are dead”
One health editor says COVID-19 is making journalists’ jobs even harder.
Abigirl Tembo said, “as part of front line workers as journalists, it’s really getting tough for us, we are in the middle of the pandemic. I think at this time, what is needed is to have sensitive employers who have the welfare of employees at heart, we need PPEs as we walk around, we need like proper PPEs, we talk of surgical masks, gloves, and sanitizers.”
In February, when Zimbabwe’s vaccination rollout started, the government was commended for allowing journalists to be among the first to get the jab, along with other frontline workers but among the six who’ve died so far this year, some had only received their first dose while others were unvaccinated.
Zimbabwe has had over 95,000 coronavirus cases in total, with nearly 3,000 deaths.
Over 1,4 million people have received one dose of the vaccine while around 600,000 are fully vaccinated.