Kenya: More Than 400 Kenyan Journalists Lose Their Jobs During Covid-19 Period

29 October 2020

More than 400 journalists have lost their jobs while many of those still employed have had to contend with reduced wages.

This is according to the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), a professional association for editors, which also pointed out the need for the media to maintain its independence.

It further noted that an effective media is crucial for the country's democracy.

"At least 400 journalists have lost jobs during Covid and those who still have jobs have to contend with between 10 to 30 per cent pay cuts," KEG President Churchill Otieno said on Thursday.

"What's driving that is that many media entities are totally on the edges of economic impact. If an Independent and effective media is important for our democracy then failure of media companies is not just a question of private investors, it's a question for us all," he added.

He was speaking at an event organised by KEG under the theme: "The role of media in providing leadership and setting the agenda around the BBI".

BBI team defends report

Members of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) technical team, who were at the event, moved to defend the report unveiled recently amid recent onslaught against it by Deputy President William Ruto and his allies.

The team denied that the document's proposals were an erosion and abrogation of gains from the 2010 Constitution.

DP Ruto had on Monday, during the launch of the report, tore it to shreds as he questioned its ability to address the winner-take-it all question and sort out electoral issues ahead of the 2022 elections.

However, the technocrats behind the report maintain that it neither touches on the gains of the 2010 constitution nor the bill of rights.

"In any case if touched they were only enhanced," said BBI Steering Committee member Dr Morompi ole Ronkei and Prof Ben Sihanya at the event attended by Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju, Kenya Union of Journalists Secretary General Eric Oduor and Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) chairman Oloo Janak.

The BBI team members also denied claims by Dr Ruto that IEBC reforms proposed in the report would disadvantage some candidates and that the Senate would be downgraded.

"These are lies, propaganda and lack of proper knowledge about the BBI document," Prof Sihanya said.

"Article 96 of the Constitution spells out the role of Senate and this was not touched at all. It is therefore wrong for somebody to purport that the Senate has been downgraded," Dr Ronkei said.

Mr Tuju, on the other hand, said the 'Handshake' and BBI were a ceasefire to end polarised politics in the country.

"Those against the report especially on the executive are not being sincere because some of them were beneficiaries of the expanded executive during the grand coalition government," he said.

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