PRESS RELEASE: Media Stakeholders’ Convention

Nairobi, August 25, 2020
Theme: Media Sustainability During and Post COVID-19
What: Stakeholders Convention
Date: Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Time: 10 am
Venue: Virtual

A Media Stakeholders’ Convention will take place in Nairobi on Wednesday August 26, 2020, to prepare the agenda and programme for the media sustainability convention in Kenya, planned for next month. The Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) has been coordinating the convention with representatives drawn from

  • Media Owners Association
  • Kenya Union of Journalists
  • Communications Authority Kenya
  • Kenya Correspondents Association
  • Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK)
  • Media Council of Kenya
  • Kenya Human Rights Commission (Representing CSO)
  • Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (Representing donor community) to the preparatory meeting.

‘’The presentations will be compiled into a think paper with resolutions from the major stakeholders, to be presented in the second convention, which will be open to more stakeholders,’’ KEG President Churchill Otieno said while making the announcement.

On June 28, 2020, KEG issued a statement calling for among others, establishment of a media sustainability fund, to ensure media survive the COVID-19, lockdown now in its sixth month. It followed disruption of media operations occasioned by the curfew, restrictions on movement, stay home order, restriction of movement within parts of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Mandera counties. The consequences of the pandemic include reduced revenue, staff retrenchment, salary reductions, etc. More than 300 journalists have lost their jobs in the past nine months. This begs serious questions, among them how to fund public journalism in Kenya, to enable media to continue to independent carry out its mandate providing accurate and credible information to the public.

In essence, the scale and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented as the government moved in to impose a lockdown and curfew. In a bid to reduce the risk of infection, many media houses have and continue to instruct their employees to work from home, with only lean staff reporting to newsrooms. In this context the daily and weekly production patterns of newspapers have been disrupted.

The stakeholders’ convention will be followed by resolutions on a number of actions to be undertaken by various actors, in a bid to safeguard journalism and cushion it from perils directly and indirectly brought about by COVID-19. The main objective: The main objective of the meeting is to provide a platform for stakeholders in the media industry to discuss the State of the Media in the COVID-19 and post COVID-19 period. The meeting will interrogate the challenges facing the media and journalists in Kenya, with special focus interventions and joint approaches that will cushion journalists from the economic and other challenges resulting from the pandemic.

The main Media Sustainability Convention will be held in September 2020 during which key questions on media sustainability will be addressed. The Convention will chart the way forward for the media in Kenya in this era of COVID-19 pandemic.