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Kenyan journalists come together to assist colleagues hardest hit by Covid-19 – PHOTOS

A group of Kenyan journalists last week came together to help colleagues whose lives and workplaces have been upended by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As Covid-19 continues to spread, so are such displays of social solidarity, and this brought together journalist from Nyanza who contributed funds to assist those who have been financially affected by the pandemic.

AFFECTED JOURNALISTS

Mr Luke Awich, one of the coordinators, said that they identified journalists, especially those who work as correspondents, who have found it hard going forward as people have been forced to work from home.

“Imagine if one is a correspondent and lives and works in parts that there is no network, how are they going to file their stories? If one can’t file a story, that means at the end of the month there will be no pay,” said Mr Awich.

He said so far 22 beneficiaries from Kisumu, Migori, Siaya, Homa Bay and Nairobi counties have benefited.

“We have four teams dealing with journalists who are our members in the five counties and what we are doing is basically chipping in on households needs,” he added.

He said that they hope to distribute more to other members who have also been affected as they are organizing for another funds drive by end of May.

“I know what we did was small and we didn’t reach out to everyone who might be affected, but we hope that by end of the month, we will have raised more funds than we did in April,” he said.

COVID-19 CRISIS

He urged those who might be facing the impact and cannot make ends meet to get in touch with their representatives so that the coordinating committee can see how they can assist.

Some of the food donations by journalists. PHOTOS | COURTESY

Kenyan journalists, just like the rest of the work force across the globe, have seen a disruption and impact that the novel Coronavirus has brought to the lives of many professional.

All media houses in Kenya have either temporarily effected pay cuts or suspend certain benefits for a period of time.

For Kenyan media companies, the business has dropped as advertisers face a dilemma of how to keep their staff employed, pay bills, and still be in business when this all ends.

Nation Media Group, last week, announced temporary pay cuts for its employees as Covid-19 crisis in Kenya continues to squeeze revenues and joined other media houses that had already announced the pay-cuts.

Last month, Royal Media Services (RMS) management announced a general salary reduction for all its staff as a result of negative effects of Covid-19 outbreak in Kenya with all the workers subjected to a compulsory pay cut of between 20 percent and 30 percent.

PAY CUTS

On the same week, Radio Africa Group took the same approach and announced general pay cuts for its employees to cushion itself against the adverse effects of the pandemic.

The media house, which runs a number of radio stations including Class 105 and The Star newspaper, announced a 30 percent pay cut for all employees earning a gross salary of more than Sh100,000 and 20 percent for salaries below Sh100,000 effective April 1.

Earlier, Standard Group had issued a notice to lay off 170 employees which they attributed the imminent job losses on the need to realign organisational structure, automation, as well as a shift in consumption trends of media material that has had a negative impact on the company’s ability to attract revenue.

Some experts have predicted that it could take up to a year and a half before the pandemic is contained and the world returns into some form of normalcy.

Kenya confirmed its first positive case of the disease on March 12 and the government has incrementally announced measures to prevent the spread, which included the closing of learning institutions and banning gatherings.

Later, as infection cases increased, the response was upgraded to require companies to have employees work from home and a daily curfew between 7pm and 5am.

It also announced strict measures, such as locking down key high-risk towns and social distance protocols, to contain the spread of Coronavirus.