Kenyans Journalists List 9 Demands After 3-Day Meeting

  • Microphones set up for a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
    Microphones set up for a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • Members of the Kenya Media Sector Working Group met at Maanzoni Lodge for a forum that began on Friday, March 5, 2021, to Sunday, March 7, 2021, during which they discussed a number of matters relating to enhancing media sustainability in Kenya. 

    The meeting was convened by the Kenya Editors’ Guild and the Kenya Union of Journalists with the support of partners including FHI, Internews and Media Council of Kenya sought to discuss key issues affecting the media industry, including the coverage and reporting of the forthcoming referendum and how to address the emerging challenges facing the media industry.

    The journalists resolved that the government should consider including journalists in the list of the first phase priority groups receiving the Covid-19 vaccine given that reporters are also frontline workers and essential service providers.

    Members of the Kenya Media Sector Working Group during a press conference at Maanzoni Lodge on March 7, 2021
    Members of the Kenya Media Sector Working Group during a press conference at Maanzoni
    Lodge on March 7, 2021
    File

    They agreed that the effects of the proliferation of international firms such as Google, and Facebook on the space of journalism needs to be urgently addressed through legislative and policy reforms to ensure that value generated from journalism and media work is paid for.

    Journalists pushed to be adequately compensated for their labour by the development of acceptable pay scales that take into consideration the needs of journalists. 

    “Journalists are the key resource that media houses need to operate and consequently the needs of journalists must be addressed regardless of the current financial or economic challenges,” a statement seen by Kenyans.co.ke read. 

    They acknowledged that retrenchment of journalists and pay cuts in some media houses are not sustainable and would have long-term effects on the place, roles and responsibilities of the media in an information society. 

    The media needs to conduct a self-audit among newsrooms on the skill sets available and those that are needed since the number of journalists has decreased as a result of layoffs.

    Journalists also want the media to be supported to survive the ravages of Covid-19 and the economic downturn,  in the form of tax cuts or holidays, suspension of licences and other necessary measures to ensure the media continues to serve the public interest without fear or favour.

    They pushed for the creation of an independent media fund in conjunction with Parliament.

    The scribes called for the hiring of more women to ensure the media provides equal opportunity and space for both men and women. This means the development of an affirmative action to urgently remedy the situation.

    The members also resolved that a sector-wide intervention to address any sexual harassment within the media space needs to be urgently undertaken.

    Members of the Kenya Media Sector Working Group during a press conference at Maanzoni Lodge on March 7, 2021
    Members of the Kenya Media Sector Working Group during a press conference at Maanzoni
    Lodge on March 7, 2021
    File