The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has called on the government to suspend live coverage of press conferences in a bid to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement on Thursday, MCK CEO David Omwoyo said the suspension is critical in preventing the congregation of a large number of journalists and media practitioners in one location.
“The national and county governments’ departments and agencies, as well as private sector organizations, suspend all live coverage of Press Conferences as currently constituted, in order to comply with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Department of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH) guidelines on containment of COVID-19, ” the statement reads.
The recommendation was made by the Media Sector Emergency Response Team (MESERT), a team comprising of media sector stakeholders that was unveiled on March 14 to among other things develop comprehensive guidelines on coverage of disease outbreaks such as COVID-19. This includes the safety of media practitioners.
The council also recommended that instead of the live coverage, the state should facilitate the provision of live feeds to the media for communication to the masses.
As journalists cover COVID-19, the council noted that the government should provide the media practitioners with protective gear to prevent possible risks.
On advertisements in the media, MCK encouraged the state to facilitate the provision of official content on COVID-19 to the media, beyond advertising so as to counter misinformation.
The council noted that the media can help disseminate the messages in multiple formats and languages through vernacular, braille and sign language.
Over the recent past, the government has relied on the media to give updates on COVID-19.
So far, the country has confirmed seven cases of COVID-19 with several other suspected cases awaiting tests.