No Sudhir Zee, Covid 19 is a disease, not a war, those infected are patients, not warriors 

Zee news should also disclose how many more people their infected employees had come in contact with before they were hospitalised.
After he officially shared the news that 29 (at last count) of his colleagues were tested positive for Covid-19, Zee TV editor, and star anchor Sudhir Chaudhary, knew for sure that the news would go viral. This one did not even need any trigger words, it didn’t even have to mention Tablighi Jamaat, not initially at least, and yet it has been sizzling hot news in the media circles. What he and his team did not realise then was that his announcement had invariably exposed the harsh working conditions for journalists working there. He had himself shared how those infected had continued to come to work because they were “committed professionals”.
Not that facts matter much here, nor does medical protocols, nor the current laws in place due to the rising cases of Covid-19 pandemic, including in Noida, Gautam Buddhanagar where the Zee offices are located. So much so, that the Delhi-Noida border, a short drive from the Zee offices, remains sealed to help slow down the rising Covid19 curve. Never mind all that, Zee’s star anchor Sudhir Chaudhary had a reply to those who questioned why anyone infected was asked to report to work, He proudly tweeted that: “Team @ZeeNews is on the frontline, while social media stone pelters spread rumours. Those who are infected had the option of sitting at home & sharing memes.They came to work because they’re committed professionals.If you can’t show them respect,don’t expose your spiteful selves!”



He did not share how many more people these “committed professionals” had met once people went back home, before their test samples were confirmed Covid-19 positive. Zee news’s ‘patient zero,’ had been symptomatic, and then took leave and got tested. 

Chaudhary, initially spent a lot of time defending his own tweet that stated his colleagues were infected and that they had come to work. This had earned him stern responses including some from medical professionals active on social media. Doctor Roshan R said: “Absolute hogwash. They SHOULD have been sitting at home in self-isolation. This was clear from day 1 of the lockdown. By DELIBERATELY coming to work, they have become super spreaders of #COVID19 who INTENTIONALLY infected Indians despite knowing the risks. They are criminals.”



Now offended by the massive backlash Sudhir decided to join the hashtag game, he has relied on the past when presenting ‘news’ that worked for his political leanings. He branded his Covid-19 infected colleagues as “Zee Warriors” . It would have still been tolerable if he had stopped there. Nope. He decided to expose personal details of the Covid-19 patients, including age, alma mater,  and intimate family details such as the age of their children etc.

So far, the protocol has entailed that Covid-19 patients are not named, and all personal information is kept confidential. But not on Zee news, viewers were informed of the family details of the Covid-19 patients, including unrelated facts such as the husband of one was stuck in another state, and the child of another had cancer. Thankfully most of the patients themselves were wearing masks when they recorded their video messages, and will not be recognisable to the general public.

The disease still carries a lot of stigma and scores of news reports of even medical personnel working in Covid wards being discriminated against have been seen regularly.  Of course Right Wing aligned Television channels have devoted hours of programming to show Tablighi Jamaat members as ‘super spreaders’ of Coronavirus in India. This hate campaign has fuelled vilification of the Muslim community, including attacks, and economic boycott of the marginalised sections, across the country. 

All that is in the past for Zee news which has now found a novel Covid 19 marketing opportunity, in house. Yesterday,  Sudhir Chaudhary began naming his Covid-19 infected colleagues and sharing videos of them calling themselves warriors etc.


मिलिए मीनाक्षी सिंह से।ये @ZeeNews के 29 Corona Positive पत्रकारों में से एक हैं।मीनाक्षी की 3 साल की बेटी है और पति कोलकाता में काम करते हैं।वो माँ हैं,पत्नी हैं और एक पत्रकार हैं।इस समय करोना से अकेले लड़ रहीं हैं।मीनाक्षी के जज़्बे को सलाम।#ZeeWarriors

(Meet Meenakshi Singh. She is one of @ZeeNews’ 29 Corona Positive journalists. Meenakshi has a 3-year-old daughter, and her husband works in Kolkata. She is a mother, a wife and a journalist. At the moment she is fighting Corona alone. A salute to her passion. #ZeeWarriors” 



Ms Singh, of course had said in her video that she was indeed a “zee warrior,” and admitted that she was at work “in office till yesterday,” working on the “frontline”. Chaudhary, of course, had previously said that no one who was infected was asked to come to office. Well he did not explain how then Ms Singh unfortunately got infected in office. 

He had said this earlier: “ There’s a malicious campaign going on to distort my words & target @ZeeNews. Setting the record straight-

1. No infected employee came to work. One person had been away from work since Monday & tested positive on Friday 

2. All his contacts were tested & immediately quarantined” 




Meanwhile, media watch news portal NewsLaundry had already reported how Sudhir Chaudhary had allegedly been treating his colleagues who had been worried since the news of the Covid-19 case in the building had come to light. The Newslaundry report has alleged how the Zee management was more intent that the ‘show must go on’, rather than put the welfare of the thousands of their employees first. 



This report seemed to have ruffled some feathers. Sudhir Chaudhary went on to devote an entire prime time show to bring the voices of his “zee warrior” colleagues.

Journalist Aveek Sen had posted about Zee a few days ago: “Staff moved to WION building where they were treated with contempt. One with Zee News reportedly responded ” Are we Tablighis?” 



Sen alleged that Sudhir Chaudhary gave a motivational speech to all employees, and told them not to be scared. He apparently even said he could be a carrier but he was working. It has also been alleged that he told those who took took leave that they were making “excuses” and were being “watched,”



The Zee employees, who are producers, graphic designers, on the assignment desk, who work within the office who are now Covid-19 are now in different hospitals and undergoing treatment. All of them say they are “warriors” fighting the disease and will be back at work as soon as they  recover. 

Meanwhile, their other colleagues have refused to comment on the current situation in the Zee offices and studios. These are tough times for the Indian media, and reports of media houses asking employees to leave have added to the element of fear and apprehension, as much as Coronavirus as.

Hopefully, this will also start a debate on setting up a support  system for journalists who are vulnerable as they report from high  risk zones.




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