As the first batch of vaccination dosages of COVID-19 arrives in the country, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, ZUJ, calls upon government to include journalists in its priority inoculation roll-out list.
In this unprecedented crisis, the media is now more than ever an essential and emergency service critical in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They offer an unparalled service in providing the citizenry with verified and fact-checked information on all aspects of COVID-19.
For example, the public depends on journalists to inform and educate them on the fluid environment presented by the pandemic.
The act of informing the public on the threat of the coronavirus carries with it huge risks for the journalists, chief among them the risk of contagion. The Union, as other sectors, has since lost members due to this virus. Therefore techniques and mechanisms to ensure journalists conduct safe communication with sources and members of the public should be emphasised and adopted.
It is in this light that the Union urges government to urgently acknowledge journalists as frontline workers who daily face unprecedented challenges to report the pandemic correctly and safely for the benefit of the country and thus deserve priority in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
When truth can literally save lives, ZUJ believes this is not too much to ask for.