Medical &Health

Almost 4 out of 5 journalists think DSA a barrier to working freely during pandemic

Around 79 percent of journalists found the Digital Security Act (DSA) a barrier to working freely in Bangladesh during the Covid pandemic, reflecting a poor and deteriorating condition of press freedom in the country, according to a new study.

Besides, the study also revealed that 23 percent of journalists faced extreme threats while working during the pandemic and 13 percent of them faced restrictions by their editors from publishing particular reports on certain matters, said a press release on Tuesday.

Centre for Governance Studies (CGS), a governance and research platform, conducted the study on ‘Health Journalism and Safety-Security Measures of the Journalists during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ with an aim to investigate the impacts of the Covid-19 on the journalists of Bangladesh.

The sample size for the study consisted of 100 media workers from national newspapers, electronic media, online media and news agencies.

The survey found that the journalists of Bangladesh got infected by the Coronavirus at a high rate while the infection rate was higher among the journalists in Dhaka than their fellows working outside the capital.

It also found that many journalists were affected financially during the pandemic. “Less than half of the respondents could retain their pre-pandemic salary flow. Forty percent of the respondents received full salary payment regularly while 36 percent were paid half of their salary. The remaining 24 percent received full salary payment, but irregularly. Moreover, eight percent of the journalists lost their jobs due to the pandemic.”

Though journalists were acknowledged as front-liners during the pandemic, it could not prevent many from facing social stigma, said the survey. “About one-fourth of the respondents of the survey faced social stigma. Sixty percent of the respondents faced psychological challenges, including fear of getting infected, putting their family members at stake and facing financial uncertainty.”

It also said 57 percent of journalists received safety materials to carry out their professional duties during the pandemic, “Respondents from Dhaka got more safety materials than those who worked outside the capital. Half of the respondents were provided transportation facilities from their office.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh