According to a study conducted by the Delhi-based Institute of Perception Studies, as many as 101 journalists have succumbed to COVID-19 between 1 April, 2020 and 28 April, 2021. Uttar Pradesh has seen the maximum number of verified deaths, followed by Telangana and Maharashtra.
April 2021 has been the worst for journalists in India, with 52 deaths being reported in just 28 days (data available till 28 April). This implies that on an average, two journalists have died everyday this month. According to a study conducted by the Delhi-based Institute of Perception Studies, as many as 101 journalists have succumbed to COVID-19 between 1 April, 2020 and 28 April, 2021. Additionally, over 50 journalists have passed away due to COVID-related complications since January 2021.
This data comes as India continues to see a new high in COVID-19 cases, since the last few days, with over 3 lakh cases being reported every day. As per the data from the health ministry, the country on Thursday created yet another grim record with 3,79,257 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 1,83,76,524.
This is the highest ever single-day rise in cases reported by any country so far, and the eighth consecutive day when India has recorded more than 3 lakh cases. India also recorded 3,645 deaths in a day for the first time, taking the toll to 2,04,832. The number of active cases has crossed the 30-lakh mark.
But experts say those numbers, however staggering, represent just a fraction of the real reach of the virus’ spread, which has thrown this country into emergency mode. “It’s a complete massacre of data,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan who has been following India closely, told the New York Times. “From all the modeling we’ve done, we believe the true number of deaths is two to five times what is being reported,” she added.
Media channels and organisations have been working non-stop since the onset of the pandemic in India, trying to collate and verify the actual number of deaths in the country. Journalists are not only reporting on the national health crisis, but confronting it, on a daily basis, which has taken a toll on them.
The study conducted by Rate The Debate, an initiative of the Institute of Perception Studies, New Delhi, found that 56 journalists have succumbed to the virus in the last four months this year, from 1 January to 28 April, 52 of these deaths were reported in the month of April alone. This implies, on average, about two journalists have died every day this month.
Speaking to LiveNews360, Dr Kota Neelima, founder of, Rate The Debate, said that the data was collected with the intention of holding journalists’ lives accountable and to show citizens the “cost at which news was being assimilated”. She shared the data updated as of 28 April with Firspost, which is given below:
Total number of verified COVID-19 positive journalist deaths from 1 April, 2020 to 28 April, 2021: 101
Total number of verified COVID-19 positive journalist deaths from 1 April, 2020 to 31 December, 2020 : 45
Total number of verified COVID-19 positive journalist deaths from 1 January, 2021 to 28 April, 2021: 56
Total number of verified COVID-19 positive journalist deaths from 1 April, 2021 to 28 April, 2021: 52
Total number of verified COVID-19 positive journalist deaths, state-wise breakup from 1 April, 2020 to 28 April, 2021:
|State||No of deaths|
The list of 101 journalists in India who lost their lives due to COVID-19 .
(Updated until 28 April, 2021)
|Sr No||State||Name of Journalist||Media Organisation|
|1||Andhra Pradesh||Srinivasa Rao||Prajashakti Daily|
|2||Surya Prakash||Vikas Parvada|
|3||M Parthasarathy||CVR News Channel|
|7||Assam||Golap Saikia||All India Radio|
|8||Jadu Chutia||Moranhat Press club president|
|9||Dhaneshwar Rabha||Rural Reporter|
|11||Bihar||Krishna Mohan Sharma||Times of India|
|12||Ram Prakash Gupta||Danik Jagran|
|13||Arun Kumar Verma||Prasar Bharti|
|14||Chandigarh||Davinder Pal Singh||PTC News|
|15||Chhattisgarh||Pradeep Arya||Journalist and Cartoonist|
|16||Delhi||Kapil Datta||Hindustan Times|
|18||Radhakrishna Muralidhar||The Wire|
|19||Ashish Yechury||News Laundry|
|20||Chanchal Pal Chauhan||Times of India|
|22||Rajiv Katara||Kadambini Magazine|
|25||Himachal Pradesh||Ravinder Kumar||Dainik Jagran|
|26||Jammu and Kashmir||Muhammad Shafi Naqsbandi||Jehadi Akbar|
|28||Somashekhar Yadavatti||Samayukta Karnataka|
|29||Kerala||D Vijayamohan||Malayala Manorama|
|30||Madhya Pradesh||Kamal Dixit||Freelance|
|32||Harish Choubey||Dainik Bhaskar|
|33||Maharashtra||Ms Fatima R Zakaria||Freelance|
|36||Jairam Sawant||Dainik Sagar|
|37||Haresh Munwani||Veteran sports journalist|
|38||Javed Jivani||Former Arab News staffer|
|39||Ashok Churi||Palghar Times|
|42||Vivek Bendre||The Hindu|
|47||Amjad Badshah||Digital Platform|
|48||Govinda Behera||News 6|
|50||Karunakar Sahu||Anupam Bharat|
|51||Prabir Pradhan||News18 Odia news channel|
|52||K CH Ratnam||Eenadu|
|53||Priyadarshi Patnaik||The Samaja|
|54||Prabir Kumar Pradhan||News18 (Odia)|
|55||Puducherry||K Dharmaraj||Polymer TV|
|56||Punjab||Ashwani Kapoor||Punjab Kesari|
|57||Naresh Bajaj||Sach Kahoon|
|58||Tamil Nadu||E Velmurugan||Cameraman/Raj TV|
|60||Ramanathan||Reporter Private News Channel|
|61||Florent C Pereira||Journalist-actor|
|63||K Amaranath||News of Indian Journalists Union|
|69||Madiraju Giri||ABN Andhra Jyothi|
|72||Sridhar Dharmasanam||Maa Hyderabad|
|74||Kondra Srinivas Goud||Hindi Milap|
|76||Ms Kalpana||Bathukamma TV|
|77||D Manoj||TV5 news|
|78||D Ashok||Andhra Bhoomi|
|79||Tripura||Jitendra Debbarma||Chini Khorang|
|80||Tanmoy Chakraborty||Local Digital News Channel|
|81||Uttar Pradesh||Ms Tavishi Srivastva||The Pioneer|
|82||Neelanshu Shukla||India Today|
|85||Pankaj Shukla||Rajsatta Express|
|86||Ami Adhar Nidar||Dainik Jagran|
|88||Ankit Shukla||Dainik Jagran|
|90||Durga Prasad Shukla||Amar Ujala|
|91||Sachchidananda Gupta “Sacche”||Jadid Amal|
|93||Shivanandan Sahu||Punjab Kesari Digital|
|94||Prashant Saxena||Digital Journalist|
|96||Ankit Shukla||Dainik Jagran|
|97||Raju Mishra||Senior Journalist|
|98||Anil Srivastava||Dainik Jagran|
|99||Saket Suman||Janta TV|
|100||West Bengal||Ronny Roy||Aajkaal|
|101||Kishore Bhimani||Cricket journalist|
As per the research, Uttar Pradesh has seen the maximum number of verified deaths, followed by Telangana and Maharashtra.
Speaking about the data and the process used to verify it, Kota explained that the team followed a strict and laborious process to verify each name. “We follow the 3-step verification: Data collection, cross-checking, and making personal calls. We are 100 percent sure that the names mentioned in our list are that of journalists who have died due to COVID-19 only. Even though there are multiple lists doing rounds over the number of scribes who have died in the past year, our list exclusively reports on the ones who have passed away due to COVID-19 .”
Talking about the issues faced while collecting data, Kota said one of the main problems that came was to define who exactly fell under the category of being a “journalist”.
”Traditionally, a journalist is considered as someone who is in the front of the camera, an anchor or reporter, or a byline. But that is not true. There is an entire team behind that news report you see on TV, a researcher, a cameraman, a technician, and various other departments. As per me, anyone who is involved in this process of news, should be considered as a journalist,” said Kota.
Rate the Debate has also written a letter to chief ministers of various states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and even the Central government, urging them to vaccinate all journalists immediately. Even though journalists are considered as essential service, they are not counted as frontline workers. The Editors Guild of India earlier this month had urged the Union government to declare journalists as frontline workers and ensure priority vaccination.
The data collated by Rate The Debate has been inclusive to include anyone who is working in the field of news, including stringers, freelancers, photojournalists, and citizen journalists as a journalist and has taken their death into account.
“Incidentally, most of the deaths recorded on our list are journalists from print and digital media, who are not considered traditional reporters as we don’t see them on TV.” added Kota.
Another problem faced while verifying data was to collect names of those journalists working in remote areas and interior parts of states, where deaths were not being reported and accessibility was less. As prominent journalist Rana Ayyub noted, “Some of the best journalists in India covering the COVID devastation are not on Twitter, Instagram etc. Away from the din of social media, they strive to get us the truth while being vulnerable to ‘punishment’ by state governments.”
Some of the best journalists in India covering the covid devastation are not on twitter, insta etc. Away from the din of social media, they strive to get us the truth while being vulnerable to ‘punishment’ by state govt’s and no access to legal protection or healthcare. ?
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) April 27, 2021
“The data you see is just about half of the data we’ve actually collected. We haven’t been able to verify the deaths, but the death has occurred. If you can see about 70 names on the list, we actually received over 150-160 names, but they couldn’t be verified by our team and hence have been left out from the list” Kota noted.
When asked if there was a certain age-group that was affected the most while researching for the data, Kota noted that there were senior journalists who had succumbed to COVID-19 in their late sixties and junior reporters in their thirties. “There was no specific age group, but factors like availability of ICU beds and oxygen in their respective states have played a major role.”
In a harrowing example, a journalist from Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, Vinay Srivastava, had tested positive for COVID-19 , but couldn’t get a test or medical care. In a tweet on 16 April, he made an appeal for help, saying his oxygen levels were declining, and tagged local officials. He died ten days later.
#CMYogiAdityanath आपके राज्ये में डॉक्टर अस्पताल और पाठलाभः सब निरंकुश हो गए है मैं 65 की आयु का हु इसके साथ मुझे स्पोंतलिटेस्ट भी है जिसकी वजह से मेरे ऑक्सीजन घाट के 52 हो गया है और कोई भी हॉस्पिटल लैब एवं डॉ फ़ोन नही उठा रहे
— Vinay Srivastava (@VinaySr18286715) April 16, 2021
In another incident from UP, a 36-year-old local journalist from Bareilly, passed away to COVID-19 in his house. His family alleged that they were not able to arrange a hospital bed or proper treatment, according to Times Of India.
The lack of government data of any kind on the number of deaths that are being reported in the media fraternity has posed another challenge for the research. “Numbers are everything! Numbers help us keep accountability and humanise the deaths, by taking note of each death lost due to the pandemic. With no government data, we had to start from square one and collect data from crowdsourcing and verifying each and every death personally,” said Kota.
Currently, the team is in the process of verifying in excess of 40 (and counting) more claims of journalist deaths due to COVID-19 as the numbers keep rising day-by-day, noted Kota.
This research was put together with the aim that even if the government does not think it’s necessary to keep tabs on the journalist lives lost in this pandemic, Rate the Debate on behalf of the media community, will keep tabs and update its data on it, “till no more journalist deaths are reported.”