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Diehards from the media who covered Panchkula were forgotten by the media itself
Today the media is full of stories of women officers who risked their lives in the line of duty in Panchkula on Friday and of policemen who gallantly fought the odds to quell the mob.

However, there are no stories about the media men who also risked their lives and fought against the mob while reporting from the scene where trouble was brewing. For them it was just another day at their job, which comes with high risks. Although some of them were injured, it did not hamper their determination to continue reporting.

Take the case of the reporter from Dainik Savera who offered his car to an injured policeman so that he could travel to the hospital. Take the case of others who risked their lives to cover the violence and arson taking place. The most glaring case was that of Barinder Saluja, a reporter from Chandigarh whose car was burnt down by the mob. Saluja saw his Toyota burning before his eyes but yet stood ground and continued to cover the riot. He risked his life and did not bother about his financial loss for the sake of his duty. Men like Saluja deserve to be rewarded.

There were several Barinder Salujas in the field that day.

However, the lessons learnt from Panchkula bring about a new challenge for the media and media houses. The recent attacks on the media in Panchkula have opened up a new debate on how the media should cover such incidents. Media personnel take several risks while doing so. Fortunately, although loss of property occurred in the scuffle, no journalist lost his or her life.

However, the risks are very high and the media needs to have a proper set of rules and regulations. There needs to be proper insurance cover for both the life and property of the individual covering such events. Normal insurance will not pay an individual's family in case there is loss of life, limb or property in a riot.

Media personnel take a lot of risks and have to perform duties during riots and emergencies, both medical and natural.

A reporter or individual needs to be properly insured by the government and the media house while covering such events; and to say that accredited correspondents are provided insurance cover is not sufficient.

Several young girls and boys today work as reporters, page makers and desk persons in media houses. However, they are not accredited correspondents. It should be binding upon media houses to ensure their security and provide for their insurance.

Property destroyed in riots is not covered by insurance companies but in this case media persons have to take unnecessary risks to reach dangerous spots where they put their life and property at risk.

In case a government official dies on duty his/her next of kin is given a job on compassionate grounds, however, we have no such provision in the media. Today, financial insecurity is a big issue for the average media man, which makes this insurance cover even more vital.

Then comes the issue of taking risks while covering incidents. The media therefore needs to adopt different and new forms of technology to cover such incidents where danger is lurking around. Drone technology is one such technology to which media houses should be given access.

This could be provided by a government agency like the PIB or event the PRO of the police department. This agency could be asked to set up media centres where the media men could collect the video footage rather than expose themselves to unnecessary danger.

The Uttar Pradesh Police for example uses drones regularly to monitor the city before and after religious festivals and on tense occasions where they fear law and order could break down. These same drones could be used to provide the footage to media organisations. The DPR of each state government provides inputs to the media organisations daily.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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