The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) is offering Ksh100 million financial support targeting community radio and television stations across the country, a much-needed shot in the arm for media houses at a time when revenues are shrinking.
Speaking at a virtual Press Conference on Friday to launch the initiative, MCK chief executive David Omwoyo noted that the historic grant will reach more than 150 media houses and it is hoped to improve the work and life of what the council does to media houses.
“The challenges brought about by Covid-19 have put a strain on media houses. The grant will reach more than 129 community radio and 25 TV stations,” Mr Omwoyo said.
William Kisang, Chair of the Communication, Information, and Innovation Parliamentary Committee, underscored the importance of community radio in reaching grassroots, especially concerning the novel Coronavirus, Covid-19 in order to reduce stigma.
“This initiative will ensure that information reaches the grassroots and that members of the public are aware of and follow the safety measures put forward by the government to help flatten the curve,” the Marakwet West MP said.
Maina Muriruri, Chairman of the MCK, thanked the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation for providing the fund, and requested for more support in establishing a permanent solution for increasing plurality in media.
“The aim of this initiative is to help the media stand and get through this pandemic together. It will serve as a pilot and reference point for the Media Diversity Fund,”Muiruri said.
“We hope to receive similar support from the Parliamentary Committee as we chart the way towards establishing the Media Diversity Fund.”MCK chairman Maina Muiruri
Kenya Community Media Network Coordinator Tom Mboya Odhiambo, urged media stakeholders to work on a permanent solution to foster media development terming it as ‘overdue’.
“This initiative was long overdue as community media houses normally operate with little funding and numerous challenges. Funding needs to be made permanent and sustainable to enable community radio stations serve the communities,” Mboya said.
Mboya’s sentiments were echoed by Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Secretary-General Eric Oduor, and Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) Executive Director Marceline Nyambala, who noted that the fund will go a long way in helping keep media houses operational through the crisis period.