Three media workers have died due to coronavirus and dozens of media workers in several cities have tested positive. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia in urging media outlets and its workers to implement the safety protocol during the pandemic.
A chief editor of an online media in Bali has died because of the coronavirus in July 2. He had high fever and received treatment in the hospital. Around 56 journalists who were in contact with the chief editor as well as those who attended the cremation underwent rapid test.
In addition to that, two media workers of TVRI, a public television broadcaster, in Surabaya, East Java have died in July 11 and July 12 due to the Covid-19. The office has stopped its operation for 15 days. TVRI Surabaya will relay the content from the headquarter in Jakarta. In July 9, TVRI Surabaya has offered rapid test for around 180 media workers. The office building was also sprayed with disinfectant.
Surabaya, the second largest province in Indonesia, has become an epicentre of the coronavirus spread beside the capital city Jakarta. It is also affected media workers. In RRI Surabaya, the national radio station, 60 media workers have tested positive. The radio station has closed its Surabaya's office and only relayed the programme from RRI Jakarta starting on June 27. The decision to hold the information and not publicly announced the new cluster in RRI Surabaya has been criticised by epidemiologist since it will hinder the attempts to minimise the coronavirus spread.
Another case also was being found in Makassar, South Sulawesi where one journalist was infected by the coronavirus. He is still undergoing his treatment.
AJI has reiterated its calls earlier to media companies, sources and government institutions to follow protocols to ensure the safety and wellbeing of journalists during the global pandemic. Media companies must protect its workers and provide the protection equipment. Management also should allow its employees to work from home. If journalists have assignments, they must wear masks, bring hand sanitisers, and maintain physical distance.
"AJI also warns the government to take preventive measurements to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Sources also need to cut its gathering, including face-to-face press conferences to reduce the risk for journalists," AJI added.
The IFJ said: "In every workplace, safety should be priority. Media workers must not risking their life to go to work and get infected by the virus. IFJ warns media companies to implement safety protocols to protect the employees."
For further information contact IFJ Asia – Pacific on +61 2 9333 0918