NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – The Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) has come to the aid of colleagues who have been left struggling to make ends meet either because of salary cuts or job losses due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the Kenya government announced a stimulus package for various sectors that included selected athletes, there has been no direct support for the struggling media industry.
Many freelance sports journalists have been left struggling with all sporting events being put on hold because of the virus, and in marking the Olympic Day on Tuesday, SJAK moved to step in and offer a stimulus to cushion them.
The Olympic Day commemorates the birth of the modern-day Olympic Games.
Journalists and staff working for five leading media groups in the country have had their pay slashed by up to 50pc due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In partnership with the Media Council of Kenya, Fidelity Insurance and fellow sports journalists from around the world, SJAK raised Sh320, 000 [$3200] to purchase various foodstuffs for 50 of their colleagues who are most in need during this period.
SJAK president Chris Mbaisi who spearheaded the initiative on a day that is recognized by journalists and athletes across the world said it was important to spread positivity and share the Olympic values during this difficult period.
“It’s our small way of standing with our colleagues during this difficult period as we hope that things ease up soon and sports return after the lockdown and safe containment of the virus countrywide.”
Mbaisi, who is also the Vice President of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) Africa noted that sports news correspondents and freelance photographers have been hard hit by the lockdown triggered by the pandemic.
SJAK Treasurer and Capital FM Sports Editor Alex Isaboke added; “Most of our colleagues have faced a tough time because of the pandemic and this is the time that we should come together and help each other out.”