Govt Calls for Crisis Meeting Over Mass Layoffs in Media Houses

  • The Nation Centre building in Nairobi's Kimathi Street where the Nation Media Group offices are located.
    The Nation Centre building in Nairobi's Kimathi Street where the Nation Media Group offices are located.
    Simon Kiragu
    KENYANS,CO.KE
  • The government reached out to media owners to avert any possible crises following layoffs at Nation Media Group and planned retrenchments at Standard Media Group and BBC. 

    ICT Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eliud Owalo announced intentions to convene a crisis meeting with media owners soon to discuss the way forward. 

    The consultation will be geared towards countering the layoffs witnessed in media houses in the country.

    "We are concerned about the surge in laying offs of journalists by media houses. While times are undeniably hard, and technology is changing, mass firings should not be the first line of intervention," Owalo urged.

    The Standard Media Group Mombasa Road Offices . Thursday, October 14, 2019.
    The Standard Media Group Mombasa Road Offices . Thursday, October 14, 2019
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke

    The message was conveyed in a statement read on his behalf by Government Advertising Agency (GAA) director Dr P.D Gwaro Ogwaro on Friday, December 2, at the start of the Kenya Editor’s Guild (KEG) 5th convention in Kwale county.

    "I purpose to have a consultative session with media owners in the next few days to review the best way ahead in matters of this kind in the future," Owalo assured.

    The CS expressed his concerns over the media's struggle to stay afloat, admitting that the media disruption had affected revenue streams and left a negative impact along its path.

    Owalo expounded on the matter of pending bills owed by the state for advertisements as more media houses axe out staff to manage their operational costs.

    He committed towards the urgent need to ensure that the National Treasury clears outstanding payments of Ksh.1.15 billion owed to media houses.

    "Media Houses are struggling to retain staff with some implementing salary cuts, changing the business model to focus more on digital-first news as well as welfare concerns among journalists who go without pay for months," the CS explained.

    Stakeholders attending the convention addressed the need for honest and candid conversations surrounding the media industry's challenges. 

    Recent headlines highlighted media houses' dire situation, with notable names in the industry facing the axe in a seemingly growing crisis.

    The latest casualty of the purge was NTV prime-time news anchor, Mark Masai, who was fired by Nation Media Group on Thursday, December 1.

    Mark Masai at NTV studios based at Kimathi Street Nairobi County.
    Mark Masai at NTV studio based at Kimathi Street Nairobi County.
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    Mark Masai