NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – The Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) has called for tax incentives and waivers of Communication Authority licensing and signal carriage fees to cushion media houses from the COVID-19 economic meltdown.
Kenya Editors Guild President Churchill Otieno who spoke during a media briefing on Sunday said mitigation measures extended to other sectors of the economy should also cover the media industry.
“The government committed to support the tourism industry, the same consideration should be offers to the media industry with funds from other available resources,” said Otieno.
Among other recommendations, the editor’s guild also recommended expedited payment of pending bills owed by national and county governments to media houses and the establishment of a Media Sustainability Fund to help the industry survive the crisis.
“We recommend an urgent convening of stakeholders to discuss the creation of a sustaibility fund and we also urge the government to clear the pending bills it owes the industry,” Otieno added.
KEG further urged employers to consider the plight of their workers when instituting layoffs and pay cuts.
“We need to treat the retrenchment process in a humane way since some of the journalists have families and could be servicing a loan. Talk to your workers,” said KEG Vice President Samuel Maina.
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease has hammered Kenya’s economy leading to lay offs and pay cuts in many sectors.
Some of the sectors that have been hard hit by the pandemic include transport, tourism, where industry players have projected losses worth billions.
The media industry has not been spared from the coronavirus wrath with declining advertisements, events,and low print sales taking a hit on revenues.
KEG said over 300 journalists lost their sources of income over the past nine months.
Coronavirus-related deaths in the country rose to 143 after two more patients succumbed to the virus.
With infections reported since March crossing the 6000-mark, the country’s case fatality rate has declined to 2.4 per cent, compared to 5.1 per cent in April.
The health ministry reported thirty-five patients had been given a clean bill of health raising recoveries registered since April 1 to 1,971.
Globally, the World Health Organization has reported about 10 million cases, over 500,000 deaths and over 5 million recoveries.