Tamil Nadu government promises Covid-19 aid to journalists, but many may be excluded

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has announced that the Covid-19 aid provided for Government accredited journalists would be increased to Rs.5000, from the existing sum of Rs.3000. He also announced that the solatium paid to the kin of journalists who lose the battle to the pandemic will be doubled.

Stalin had earlier announced journalists as frontline workers amid the pandemic. During the AIADMK regime in Tamil Nadu, media persons were provided free and priority vaccination along with frontline workers, well ahead of the Assembly elections. 

According to Stalin, the decision to hike the aid and compensation comes after requests regarding the same. He also added that the journalists and media acted as a bridge between government and public in ensuring that the right information reached the people. 

However, the Tamil Nadu government and its publicity arm the Department of Information and Public relations has refused to renew the accreditation of many eligible journalists, while also not providing accreditation for new applicants. Relevant Officials from the DIPR were, as usual, not available for comment. However, DIPR officials for long have been offering excuses that provision of accreditation has been haled owing to some pending Court case.

In the absence of accreditation from the government, many journalists may not be eligible for the benefits, neither would their families be provided compensation in case of bereavement. 

“I have been in the possession of an accreditation card since 2008, but the government department held renewal of my card since late 2019, despite submitting all the required papers on time,” said a senior journalist.

With nearly 35,000 daily cases Tamil Nadu is the state that is reporting the highest number of Covid-19 cases across India. On Tuesday, the state witnessed 468 deaths and the active cases were at 3.06lakh. 

 

(With inputs from DNA India)

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