Latin America: Unions request the inclusion of journalists in priority vaccination groups

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) supports the petition of its affiliates in Brazil, Peru and Uruguay for media workers to be considered as essential workers and their inclusion in the priority groups in the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.

A healthcare professional draws up a dose of AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. Credit: OLI SCARFF / AFP

In Brazil, the National Federation of Journalists of Brazil (FENAJ) called on the government to develop a universal vaccination plan that considers journalists essential frontline workers during the pandemic.

"The inclusion of journalists among the priority groups is justified by the fact that similarly to other professions, such as health professionals, teachers, police or firefighters, media workers are obliged to put themselves at risk, guaranteeing every citizen access to reliable and public interest information," the union said.

In Peru, the National Association of Journalists of Peru (ANP) sent a letter to the President of the Council of Ministers, Violeta Bermúdez, expressing its concern about the exclusion of journalists, photojournalists and other media workers in the priority groups for vaccination against COVID-19.

According to the union's records, 108 journalists have died nationally from the virus, the world's highest death toll per country in the profession. "It is therefore unusual that the high level of vulnerability to which our colleagues are exposed, who provide journalistic coverage from potential hotspots of infection, has not been taken into account," the ANP said.

The ANP added that while the Peruvian State has defined journalism as an essential service it is still  "not treating us as such".

In Uruguay, the Central Board of Directors of the Uruguayan Press Association (APU) contacted the country's Minister of Health, Daniel Salinas, stressing that media workers are highly exposed to the virus when reporting on the ground.

"Providing society with quality information is an essential service. Journalists are daily exposed to the potential contagion of the disease," the APU claimed, adding that this should be considered by the authorities in their vaccination plans.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "From the onset of the pandemic, journalists have overwhelmingly proved the essential role they play in informing their citizens and fighting against disinformation over the Covid-19. Journalists are essential workers that should be treated as such within national COVID-19 vaccination campaigns worldwide.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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