Some 600 journalists have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) CEO David Omwoyo said on Sunday.
In an interview with KTN News, Omwoyo said that another 60 have been infected with the virus while one scribe has succumbed to the disease but refused to reveal the identity of the deceased.
According to the Chief Executive, another 42 journalists have been asked to keep off their places of work after testing positive or being suspected of having COVID-19.
“I was recently speaking to a marketing executive from one of the media houses who told me that they have been barred from visiting some places which are considered hotspots,” said Omwoyo.
According to Omwoyo, the Council has been instrumental in helping journalists during the COVID-19 period by offering psychological and financial support.
Omwoyo however blasted journalists for being lax and not taking care of themselves properly when the Ministry of Health reported the first case of COVID-19 in the country.
Some of the popular journalists who have tested positive for the virus include Citizen TV news anchor and talk show host Jeff Koinange, Citizen TV Senior Political Reporter Stephen Letoo and BBC Africa Presenter Ian Wafula.
Jeff has since recovered from the disease after 17 days of self isolation.
The media industry has suffered due to COVID-19 with two of the main four media organizations in the country effecting large scale lay-offs over struggling businesses.
Nation Media Group (NMG) recently axed its employees including popular presenters Ken Mijungu, Debarl Inea, and Harith Salim.
Sports Anchor Brian Otwal, Brenda Wanga- Reporter, Eunice Omollo- Reporter, Sharon Barang’a- Reporter, Swahili News Editor Shaban Ulaya were also shown the door.
In June, Mediamax pulled off the distasteful by sacking at least 100 employees via midnight text messages.
Among those who lost their jobs at Mediamax include Fred Indimuli, Tony Kwalanda, Mercy Milanoi, Sarah Adam, Rose Gakuo, Shukri Wachu, Apollo Kamau and Ken Wariahe.
Still, in June, Royal Media Services (RMS) sent a number of employees mostly from the radio department packing over a tough business operating environment.
Radio Citizen presenters Syombua Osiany, John Maloba, and Himenigilder Mugeni are among the employees that were retrenched.