CJE requests for free PCR tests for journalists | Daily News

CJE requests for free PCR tests for journalists

The Centre for Journalism and Education (CJE) requests the Ministry of Health and the Department of Government Information to introduce a system which will provide PCR tests for journalists free of charge or at a concessionary- rate.

The CJE says “It has come to our attention that a number of journalists have tested positive for COVID-19 and that a large number of others have been asked to self-quarantine or have been advised to take PCR tests. These tests are expensive and the journalists are exposed to the virus in the line of their duty. Therefore we make this request from the ministry and the department”.

According to CJE, throughout the pandemic, journalists have continuously placed themselves at risk to cover the latest COVID-19 related developments and they have taken the risk so that the general public is aware of what is transpiring on the ground.

Despite the fact that most of the citizens had the opportunity to avoid places where the risk of exposure is high; the nature of their work compels journalists to be present at areas where the risk is at the highest. If the current trend continues and a large number of journalists test positive for COVID-19 or have to self-quarantine, this will stem the flow of information and would affect the citizens’ right to information, it said.

Also highlights that a large number of freelance journalists also operate and that often they are not covered by insurance or health schemes provided by media institutions the center noted that journalists are already worried whether they have been exposed to COVID-19 and that this has affected their ability to carry out their duties effectively.

“Therefore, the Ministry of Health and the Department of Information must establish a mechanism where journalists who fear that they have been exposed to COVID-19 could be tested free of charge or at a concessionary rate”, it stressed.