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Wednesday, January 6, 2021 – The Government of President Uhuru Kenyatta has banned Journalists from visiting schools to highlight the plight of students.
The Government argued that allowing journalists to visit schools will deny Kenyans timely updates on the Covid-19 situation in schools.
The order was issued by a committee consisting of Cabinet Secretaries, George Magoha (Education), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Mutahi Kagwe (Health), the Council of Governors on Sunday, a day before students resumed studies.
Regional and County Directors were instructed to prohibit journalists from accessing institutions as the government argued that the media was tainting its image.
“Watching the news and seeing that the media have unfettered access to schools is worrying. Regional and County Directors warn school heads that the media should not access schools unless given permission,” the directive reads.
Journalists will only be allowed in schools with permission from the Ministry of Education unlike before where they sought the authority of school heads.
The order was issued after Education CS George Magoha was criticised for ordering students to learn under trees and also acknowledged that it would be difficult to enforce social distance in schools.
However, the move has caused an uproar among journalists, terming it as dictatorial.
Media Council Chief Executive Officer David Omwoyo argued that the government’s reason for protecting vulnerable children from infections is valid, but it was wrong to bar the media.
He instead called for protocols to be issued on the conduct of the media.
“The media has exposed the pathetic state of preparations in schools,” Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Secretary-General Erick Oduor said, adding that the directive infringed on the freedom of the media.
Upon reopening of schools, the media exposed the plight of students who were spotted sitting outside the classes while others were congested in rooms and under trees.
The Kenyan DAILY POST