Journalist’s death raises questions on exposure

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 00:00 |
Royal Media Services (RMS) veteran journalist Robin Njogu who died on Monday. Photo/Courtesy

The death of veteran journalist Robin Njogu now raises concerns over how exposed journalists are to Covid-19 disease in their line of duty.

Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) said yesterday that at least 20 journalists are currently battling Covid-19 in various medical facilities.

KUJ Secretary General, Erick Oduor yesterday renewed an earlier petition to Government that journalists be considered among the frontline workers to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“In view of the loss of life and reports of over 20 journalists battling the virus in medical facilities across the country, we believe that considering journalists to be among the first beneficiaries of the vaccine that is expected to land in the country anytime,” said Oduor in a statement.

Immediate action 

He said that journalists have suffered in silence, even as he urged those affected to speak up for immediate action or support before it is too late.

“It should be noted that in the efforts to control the spread of the virus journalists have been at the forefront in assisting government with identification of potential hotspots as well as carrying out campaigns to turn the tide against the virus.

As journalists continue with this important endeavor, it is only fair that the government makes available all the possible facilities and protection to them,” he added.

He stated that it beats logic to classify journalists as frontline workers only when their services are needed to contribute to the national campaign in informing and educating the public and then abandon them.

“This gives credence to the fact that journalists are only important when their selfless services are needed at the time of crises but are on their own when it comes to the protection of their rights and welfare,” regretted Oduor.

He described it as imprudent and discriminative to expect journalists to play a delicate role in the Covid-19 battle, by exposing themselves to the virus while reporting new developments on the pandemic, including messaging on the fast-changing containment measures to the public, without targeted efforts to secure their own safety.

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