The MCK had already urgently made available a special Covid-19 press badge for both journalists and non-media personnel working in media houses, to enable ease of movement during the ongoing night curfew and blockade of Nairobi and some coastal counties.
The MCK is also in the middle of managing a donor-funded programme issuing travel grants to enable journalists to do Covid-19 related stories. The project, supported by OSIEA, will enable journalists, especially from the most vulnerable regions, to deliver stories using the grants that media houses may be constrained to offer at such a time.
And the council is also rolling out a programme to financially assist community radio stations that have ground to a halt due to the effects of stringent Coronavirus measures. The support, funded by Government, will enable the stations to sustain jobs while playing one of their key roles, to reach rural areas with government messaging related to the pandemic.
Still, being a day that is set out to highlight media freedom and independence, it is a fitting occasion to remind the government and the Media Owners that he delicate economic environment forced down by the pandemic should be navigated carefully to ensure rights of journalists are not erased by the hard measures.
According to a report released last week by the International Peace Institute, the state of press freedom globally has gone down, as some governments are including sweeping media control measures alongside Covid-19 regulations.
The report cited Africa as among regions where increased arrests, censorship and physical attacks have escalated during the Covid-19 crisis. Kenya is not listed in the extreme brackets but not to say that all is flowing smooth.
All mainstream media houses have resorted to salary cuts for staff, which has become a global trend due to the economic crunch.
However, the least that could be asked of media houses, on this auspicious occasion, is to guarantee job remain intact even as the whole world waits out the passing of the Coronavirus devastation.
I draw confidence from the WPFD 2020 theme, ‘Journalism Without Fear or Favour’ to say, we will return to better times.