The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has today launched a media grants programme that will see over 25 Television Stations and 125 local Radio Stations benefit from the fund.
The initiative with a budget of Ksh100 million directly from the government will support community and vernacular stations in the country produce content during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With some of the media houses in the country laying off staff and some sending employees on unpaid leave due to limited funds, the council noted that the program will come in handy to give operational support and ensure that the stations retain their members of staff.
Many of the community stations in the country rely on volunteers for their day to day operations due to limited sources of income. The Covid-19 crisis worsened the situation.
Speaking during the virtual launch of the programme on Friday, Victor Bwire, the Head of Media Development and Strategy at MCK, said the TV and radio stations have already been identified.
Besides funding, Bwire said the council will go the extra mile and train the editorial teams in community and vernacular stations to better equip them with skills needed in covering the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bwire said the council will facilitate virtual capacity-building via online platforms to enable the journalists improve their quality of content.
Marakwet West Member of Parliament Kisang William Kipkemoi, who is also the Chairman, Communications and Information and Innovation Parliamentary Committee, lauded the council for the initiative saying the resources will help people at the grassroots be better informed on the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Esther Koimett, the Principal Secretary for the ministry of ICT at the department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications, was expected to speak during the session but was represented by an official from the ministry. The PS reiterated the need to support community stations in the country.
The media council has been working with local journalists to cover the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
This is the third grant programme to be announced by MCK since the outbreak of the contagious disease in the country in mid-March.
On April 23, the council launched a grant program to support media associations and support groups across the country to facilitate their operations and members during the pandemic.
The first initiative, a Health Reporting Grant, that was launched on April 21, has seen at least 100 journalists from different media houses benefit from the program.
In the program, the council partnered with Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) to help facilitate reporting of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya as part of the efforts to educate and empower the masses.
While launching the program, MCK CEO David Omwoyo said the council targets at least 500 journalists who will receive between Ksh500 to Ksh25,000 to cater for travel, communication and related costs in research, interviewing and compilation processes of their stories.
The second phase of the application of the grants was announced on June 3.
The deadline has been set for June 15.