Several state governments have made similar announcements in the last couple of days.

MK Stalin addressing crowd during an election rally in Tamil NaduFacebook
Coronavirus Frontline workers Tuesday, May 04, 2021 - 09:17

DMK chief and to-be Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu MK Stalin announced that all journalists will henceforth be considered frontline workers. His announcement came a day after the DMK won the state Assembly elections, putting an end to the 10-year rule of the AIADMK.

In a tweet on his official handle, Stalin said that the members of the media who work hard irrespective of the weather and the pandemic will be considered frontline workers. “The entitlements and support that are being provided to frontline workers will be provided to the members of the media as well,” he tweeted in Tamil. On May 3, the to-be Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee declared all journalists in the state as ‘COVID warriors’. Her announcement came hours after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared all journalists as frontline workers.

According to a report, as many as 101 journalists in India have succumbed to COVID-19 since April 1, 2020 of which at least 52 journalists have died since April 1, 2021. Despite the obvious risks that journalists face on the ground while covering the pandemic, the Union Government has not declared them as frontline workers. Due to this, journalists were not eligible to receive vaccinations on priority basis, thus exposing them to the virus. The Editors Guild of India has repeatedly requested the Union government to announce vaccinations for mediapersons on priority, but the Union government is yet to consider the requests. 

The DMK alliance won 159 seats in the Assembly elections that just concluded in Tamil Nadu. The DMK won 133 seats, Congress won 18 seats, the VCK won four while the Communist parties (CPI and CPI (M)) won two seats each. The AIADMK alliance, meanwhile, won 75 seats, of which the AIADMK won 66. The PMK won five seats while the BJP won four.

Several AIADMK ministers lost the elections while prominent leaders like outgoing Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami won in their respective constituencies by huge margins. 

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