Media persons who are going out for coverage, especially in vulnerable areas at the time of threat of spread of Corona virus are at a great risk. They need to take care of themselves while performing their duties.
Here are some safety guidelines compiled by Press Club, Kolkata for the Journalists, who are required to move out at the call of their duty at this trying time.
- Manta: Let us remember the Mantra: we are to cover news and not to become news. We should not be instrumental in spreading this dreaded virus. We not only have a responsibility towards our own selves but also to our families in particular and society in general.
- Hand Wash: Wash your hands as often as you can with soap and then use the sanitizer. If there is no water, carry wet wipes and then use the sanitizer. Wash your hands afterwards as soon as you can. Don’t forget to sanitize your mobile phones. Carry hand sanitizer with you at all times.
- Distant Recording: If a VIP is giving a statement, agree amongst yourselves to record him from at least six feet away. Try to stand without huddling. Better still, convince dignitaries to conduct digital press conferences, with questions from journalists taken up live. There’s plenty of technology available today to make this happen.
- Clean Microphones: Radio and TV Reporters please do not touch the mics at all. If possible, wash the mics and disinfect them on your return. After which hands have to be washed and sanitised. All equipment, especially camera, tripods, should also be washed and disinfected.
- Avoid Lapel Mice: avoid clip-on mices to avoid physical contacts. Use directional mics as much as you can and hold it from a distance.
- Hand Held Shots: If you are in a contaminated facility, do not place your equipment on the floor. Do a hand-held shoot.
- On Return: On your return remove your clothes immediately and take bath. Wash your clothes in hot water and soak in disinfectant. Keep one pair of outdoor shoes that you remove at your door when you get home. Wash them whenever you can. Keep a particular pair of outdoor shoes. Clean your belongings like purse, comb, key chain, note book, pen, etc., and keep them somewhere near the entrance. Don’t go close to children and the aged.
- Public Transport: If you are using public transportation, use Sanitizer on your hands as soon as you get off. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE.
- Eat Well Boiled Food: Try and stick to locally-sourced well cooked food while on assignment.
- Mask: May wear a mask in your office. You have no idea who has been exposed or where they’ve been. Change it as soon as it gets damp. Remove it from the elastic bands and do not touch the mask itself. Put the new one on touching only the elastic bands. If possible try to use N95 masks.
- Distant Seating: At a press conference, try to get everyone to sit leaving two seats vacant between two people. If that’s not possible, stand maintaining a clear distance.
- Don’t remain in Empty Stomach: Take time out to snack on fruit, maintain a healthy diet and do not skip meals no matter how pressing the assignment may be. Do not move and work in empty stomach.
- Secondary Info: Try and get as much information gathering done on the Internet and phone. For the next few weeks, at least, we must avoid as much exposure as possible.
- Hygiene in Workstations: Your newsroom should maintain hygiene. Sanitising surfaces twice a day with disinfectants is a must. All laptops, desktops, machines, and surfaces should be disinfected.
- If you develop Symptoms: If you experience onset of coronavirus symptoms, report to your office and doctors and immediately self-isolate yourself.
- Work from Home must for Vulnerable: Pregnant women and elderly people should resort to work from home.
(Courtesy: CPJ – Committee for Protection of Journalists; Newslaundry.com; Transom.org, cent.com, Prof. (Dr.) Mrinal Chatterjee, Regional Director, IIMC, Dhenkanal, Odisha.)
Stay safe, stay well.
Kindly circulate this to those of our colleagues, who are not members of the Club, but are moving out at the call of their duty.
Snehasis Sur (President)
Kingshuk Pramanik (Secretary)