Journalism, a High-Risk Task During COVID-19

Journalism has been one of the most crucial jobs in history. This originates from the need of people to be informed in times of war and until today it is a trade that has been perfected to be neutral and transparent.

The Woman Post | Lina Daniela Cardona Aguilar

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The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic posed a challenge for journalists in the way of exercising taking into account the physical barrier and entry into the digital world. However, in 1958 during the IV Congress of the International Organization of Journalists (IOJ) in Romania, September 8 was established as the International Journalist Day in honor of Julius Fucik Czechoslovak. He was a journalist and writer who was executed by the Nazi regime in 1943. This commemoration date was created to highlight the importance of journalism in its search for the truth and in defense of freedom of expression.

The journalist's task has always been focused on the search for the truth. In this way, we find those pursuits from Gonzo journalism, through Nellie Bly and her undercover admission to an asylum, the Capa’s and Hemingway’s war journalism, to the development of new formats. As well as the development and importance of journalism ethics that has been changing according to the new challenges. Nonetheless, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the greatest challenges has been the barrier to accessing sources and tools for the development of journalists’ researches. However, UNESCO also proposes that one risk is to report on the health crisis; this is because few journalists receive safety guidelines or protective equipment to report in the field, taking into account that there is a huge amount of countries with a lack of health system and with arduous contexts. According to Palestinian journalist Fady El Hassany, the risks related to COVID-19 increased the list they already had with the lack of security for conflicts and protests.


Likewise, journalists have had to work hard in order to prevent becoming allies of disinformation in the midst of the health crisis. The fact-checking tool begins to have greater relevance when journalists face waves of information regarding the virus without knowing its origin. Likewise, the press has been in charge of demystifying myths, lies, and false remedies to COVID-19 that carries a huge responsibility when talking about global public health. To this is added the inexperience of journalists in dealing with these issues and falls into arduous hours of work to face knowing and understanding the magnitude of the information they bring to the public. Thus, the lives of journalists who have died due to complications from COVID-19 in their trade are also commemorated.

Finally, the biggest challenges that are assumed are the change to a search for information that supposes a physical barrier. How can you fight an invisible "enemy" such as virtuality? This is a question that for today remains unanswered because journalists have learned to reconcile physical space with virtual space in the face of the development of information.

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