Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Journalists keep going out to deliver the news, in spite of the danger of infection. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 500 journalists have died from COVID-19 in 56 countries in nine months, the Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said in its monthly report from December. Free Press Unlimited works hard to provide journalists worldwide with protection so they can continue their important work.

In November, 47 more media workers succumbed to the coronavirus, compared to 22 known deaths in October. By region, of the 489 journalists who have died from COVID-19 since March 1, Latin America is leading with more than half of the victims, or 276 deaths. Asia follows with 125 deaths, ahead of Europe (38), North America (26) and Africa (24).

According to the PEC, the actual number of victims is certainly higher, as the cause of journalists' deaths is sometimes not specified or their deaths are not announced. Statistics can be misleading, because the countries that provide information are in the lead, while in other countries there is no reliable information available.

Free Press Unlimited support

Many journalists expose themselves to the threat of infection during the performance of their work because they do not have access to adequate protection material. With our partners all over the world, Free Press Unlimited works hard to protect journalists from infection. So far, we have supported over 3,100 journalists all over the world with protection materials.

With support from Free Press Unlimited, partner Redes Ayuda distributed a three-month supply of surgical gloves, protective masks, antibacterial gel and more to 30 journalists from all over Venezuela.

El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
Our partner Fundación Latitudes has equipped more than 100 journalists in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua with protective materials like glasses and masks to help them continue their vital work in a safer way. The training and security team of Fundación Latitudes has also created a resource guide together with bio safety specialists to inform journalists about working in an infectious environment.

With funding from Free Press Unlimited, Indonesian partner PPMN carried out a large scale operation to distribute packages containing protection material to citizen and local media journalists across all Indonesia. The packages contained reusable masks and bottles of hand sanitizer, and also information on how to report safely during COVID-19. PPMN succeeded in distributing protection kits to 1,500 journalists in 18 cities spread over 10 provinces in Indonesia.

Our local partner Media Association of Puntland, distributed 116 boxes of face masks, 290 bottles of hand sanitizer and 174 boxes of hand gloves to 300 journalists dispersed over nine districts in the Puntland region in Somalia.

The PEC report is based on information from local media, national associations of journalists and regional PEC correspondents. The total list of victims can be found on: www.pressemblem.ch.