Durban-based journalist Marlan Padayachee has dedicated his Good Friday Accord excellence in media award to 600 journalists who have succumbed to coronavirus at the front line of duty in covering the Covid-19 pandemic in more than 60 countries – including South African broadcaster Karima Brown.
Soon after Padayachee, a former Independent Media political, foreign, and diplomatic correspondent, was awarded the Ammen Award for excellence in the media, he dedicated it to Brown, who died on March 4, 2021.
‘’I dedicate this prestige award to Karima Brown and the 600 journalists from 60 countries who died of Covid-19 while covering the breaking news of deaths from coronavirus since 2020.
‘’In these times of uncertainty, the reading public needs journalism that you can trust. Journalism strengthens democracy, social justice, free speech, and freedom of the press,’’ he told the guests.
The Durban-based chief media strategist at MapMedia GreenGold Consulting (Pty) Limited received the prestige award – presented annually to leading media practitioners, but shelved last year because of the hard lockdowns and curfews imposed by the government – from guest of honour, Ravi Pillay, KwaZulu-Natal’s senior ANC MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism on Good Friday.
In his acceptance speech, Padayachee told the 250 guests in the main hall of the historic, 131-year-old Shree Mariammen Hindu Temple Society in Mount Edgecombe, north of Durban: ‘’I dedicate this award to one of our very own doyennes of ethical and fair and free journalism, free speech, political transparency and social justice – Karima Brown – and 602 journalists who lost their lives in almost 60 countries where they were covering the Covid-19 pandemic.’’
PEM, a non-governmental organization confirmed 60 media members died each month, two known deaths per day on a global average: Of the 602 journalists who have died from Covid-19 since March 2020, Latin America led with 303 deaths, followed by Asia with 145 deaths, Europe 94, North America 32 and Africa 28.
The Southern African Freelancers Association, of which Padayachee is an executive member, has written to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize urging the government to vaccinate hundreds of journalists and crews working on the front line of the Covid-19 news coverage across the country.
In his tribute to Brown, Padayachee wrote: ‘’She was literally shooting from her hip; she belonged to a pantheon of legendary, warrior-like wordsmiths. She stood on the shoulders of the giants in journalism.
‘’The publicity of her sad demise brought our media into sharp focus, with many of her colleagues and comrades recounting and reliving their personal experiences with one of the Fourth Estate’s best-known bylines and media mover-and-shaker.“
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