At least 600 journalists have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) CEO David Omwoyo has said.
Speaking to KTN News, Omwoyo said that as of August 9, 60 journalists had been infected with the virus while one had succumbed. Omwoyo said that he could not reveal to the public the name of the deceased journalist.
Omwoyo revealed that another batch of 42 journalists had been “sent away” from their places of work for being associated with Covid-19.
“I was recently speaking to a marketing executive from one of the media houses who told me that they have been barred from visiting some places which are considered hotspots.
He said that MCK has been holding meetings with journalists from the most affected areas to help them psychologically, and also financially.
He however blamed journalists for not taking care of themselves in the first days after Covid-19 was reported in the country, by feeling ‘special’ and ignoring Ministry of Health directives.
Among the journalists who have tested positive for Covid-19 include Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange and Stephen Letoo. Others include BBC’s Ian Wafula and NTV’s Miss Katiwa.
In June 2020, the Royal Media Services (RMS) sent home a number of its journalists especially from the radio department, almost simultaneously with Mediamax Network Ltd which fired hundreds of its journalists.
IN RMS, top journalists who were sent packing include Radio Citizen presenters Syombua Osiany, John Maloba, Himenigilder Mugeni.
Hot 96 FM Presenter Nancy Wanjiku Karanja popularly known to her fans as Shix Kapienga is also said to have been laid off.
Syombua hosted Pambazuka from 4am to 6am.
Kapienga, who doubles up as a comedian and actor, hosted Drop Zone on Hot 96 FM Monday to Thursday from 7pm to 10pm.
A majority of the Mediamax employees who were sacked via night SMS are those who were opposed to pay cuts, instituted due to the effects of Covid-19 on revenues.
Some of the notable faces fired include Sam Njoroge, Rose Gakuo, Fred Indimuli (K24 poached him from Citizen TV in 2018), Eric Njoka, Karen Karimi, Isabella Kituri, Nancy Onyancha, Caren Kibett, Shon Osimbo, Sara Adams, Joy Kariuki, Joab Mwaura, Tony Khwalanda and Milele FM presenter Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang’o.