New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Healthcare staff and frontline workers like police officials have been playing a crucial role in India's fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic by risking their own lives. However, the role of media, which is considered the fourth pillar of democracy, has largely gone unnoticed across the country.

Like other frontline workers, media has played a crucial role in India's fight against the COVID crisis by providing vital information and details from the frontlines, making people aware of coronavirus-related issues.

Therefore, several state governments have now decided to declare journalists as frontline COVID warriors for their services to the nation. This would allow journalists to get priority in the COVID vaccination programme.

Following is the complete list of states where journalists have been frontline COVID warriors:

* Odisha:

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday declared working journalists of the state as frontline COVID warriors for providing seamless news feed. He also announced an ex gratia of Rs 15 lakh for the next of kin of journalists who die of COVID-19 while performing their duty.

"As many as 6,944 working journalists of the state have been covered under the Gopabandhu Sambadika Swasthya Bima Yojana. They are getting health insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh each," the state government said in a statement.

* Madhya Pradesh:

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday also declared all journalists as frontline workers.

"Therefore, we have decided to declare all accredited journalists as frontline workers in Madhya Pradesh. They will be taken care of," Chouhan said in a statement.

* Bihar:

In Bihar, the Nitish Kumar government has also declared all journalists accredited with the Information and Public Relations Department as frontline workers who will get COVID vaccination on a priority basis.

"Corona vaccine will be given to journalists on a priority basis in the state. Journalists have been performing their roles in a good way during the pandemic. They are making people aware of the dangers of corona infection," Kumar tweeted on Sunday.

* Punjab:

The Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in Punjab on Monday also announced that all accredited and yellow card journalists in the state will be regarded as COVID frontline warriors.

* West Bengal:

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who party Trinamool Congress (TMC) raced to victory in the recently concluded assembly elections, also declared all journalists as COVID warriors.

* Uttarakhand:

Earlier, the Uttarakhand government had also declared journalists as frontline COVID workers "for communication, spreading awareness and giving out correct information".

"Since the time the lockdown started and the country eased it gradually, even officers and employees of the information department have been constantly involved in communication and spreading awareness about correct information in tasks related to fighting COVID-19," it had said in a statement.

* Tamil Nadu: 

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin, who is set to become the next chief minister of Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday declared that all media professionals will be considered as frontline workers in the state.

* Uttar Pradesh:

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday declared that journalists and media professionals and their families would be given priority in COVID vaccination drive in the country.

* Delhi:

The Arvind Kejriwal government on Friday also declared that all journalists and media personnel in the national capital will be provided COVID-19 vaccines for free at their offices.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma