Media Council want live press conferences cancelled

Journalists in Nairobi covering a COVID-19 presser at Kencom./COURTESY

The Media Council of Kenya now wants all live press conferences put on hold as a precautionary measure, for media practitioners, against Coronavirus.

It is a recommendation made by the Media Sector Emergency Response Team (MESERT) comprising of media sector stakeholders.

The team was announced on 14th March to monitor the safety of journalists and media practitioners around COVID-19, as well as develop comprehensive guidelines on coverage of such disease outbreaks.

In a statement the Media Council states that, “The National and County Governments’ departments and agencies as well as the private sector organizations should 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 Council said that it is critical in preventing the congregation of a large number of journalists and media practitioners in one location.

Council Chief Executive Officer David Omwoyo said that the National Government and the Ministry of Health should facilitate the provision of official content on COVID-19 to media houses, beyond advertising messages, so as to enable them disseminate the same in multiple formats and languages through vernacular, braille and sign language and also counter any misinformation.

Further the National Government has been urged to provide the media with protective gear as they cover the spread of the virus on the ground and provide logistical and other support as necessary.

The Council wants the Government to facilitate the provision of live feeds to National and community-level media houses for public communication announcements from the two levels of Governments and to enable questions and answers through such live links.

“We encourage media houses to cooperate with such arrangements for their safety in view of the risk of infections from crowded areas,” Omwoyo said in a statement.