Nakuru Journalists trained on reporting COVID-19

At least 50 journalists have been trained on reporting about COVID-19 in a partnership between County Government of Nakuru and Kenya Union of Journalists- Nakuru chapter.

Nakuru County epidemiologists and virologists engaged the journalists in a three-day intensive training program at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital’s Administration Block boardroom.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui at a separate forum said the training would help the local journalists disseminate timely and accurate news about the novel coronavirus.

He said the media plays a critical role in educating masses, especially on public health measures, and empowering journalist was one of the sure ways of fighting the COVID-19.

“Social gatherings have been discouraged and the mass media is the only remaining source of up-to-date information,” he pointed out.

County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr Kariuki Gichuki added that social media platforms are flooded with fake news, hindering the fight due to misconceptions.

He said by journalists would make informed reporting by first understating what the virus and its epidemiology as the virus are not as dangerous as thought.

“The training has also equipped journalists with preventive precautionary measures while in the line of duty,” emphasized Dr Gichuki.

Chief Officer for Public Health Mr Samuel King’ori regretted that some countries in Asia and Europe were recording high infection and mortality rates due to the lack of factual information on the virus.

“We are reading crazy conspiracy theories on local social media platforms. It is now upon you to paint the true picture,” beseeched Mr King’ori.

The KUJ- Nakuru chapter Secretary-General Mr Kioko wa Kivandi said the forum has strengthened the local media and the County Government of Nakuru working relations.

Mr Kioko noted that having timely access to accurate information during times crisis will help fight fake news as well as provide public health measures.

K24 TV Reporter Mr Maina Wang’ombe urged the Health Department to offer psychotherapy services as journalists were becoming stressed out by the COVID-19 coverage.

He urged the Department of Health to avail peer-reviewed papers of COVID-19 to further inform news coverage.

The County Government of Nakuru has dedicated 0724 320 853 and 0722 337 018 for residents to report suspected cases to Nakuru County Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) medical team.

Kenya Union of Journalists opens Nakuru Chapter

Kenya Union of Journalists-KUJ has on Saturday held elections of the Union’s officials for the Nakuru chapter.

The exercise that was overseen by Sammy Muraya from the KUJ National office and also attended by Secretary General Mr.Erick Oduor as well Media Council CEO Mr.David Omwoyo.

Ms Mercy Kahenda was elected chairperson after garnering 25 votes defeating Elijah Kinyanjui who got 13 votes.

The position of Secretary General went with Mr.Kioko wa Kivandi who garnered 30 votes against Patrick Kinyua’s 8 votes while Caren Lumbasi was unopposed for the position of treasurer.

Ms.Rachael Kibui and Karanja Josephat were also elected as Executive Committee members.

In their victory speeches,the newly elected leaders vowed to work together in ensuring that the welfare of Nakuru Journalists is taken care of.

KUJ Nakuru chapter is the first one in the country to be established after the National one and according to KUJ National Secretary General Erick Oduor, they intend to have 5 chapters for the start.

According to Oduor, other regions that will have the KUJ chapter established are Coast, Kisumu, Nyeri and Eldoret.

He called on Journalists in Nakuru to embrace the Union as it will help them address their grievances at the grass root level adding that it is a platform to also engage with other media organizations such as Medial Council of Kenya.

“When we started this discussion why we don’t have KUJ at the grass root level and so we agreed as the executive that we shall start 5 chapters as per the law and monitor. So Nakuru is the first one then we shall move to Coast, Kisumu, Nyeri and North Rift probably Eldoret” he said.

While noting that the leadership of a Union is a heavy task, Mr.Oduor called on the Nakuru chapter to be transparent in their work and maintain integrity.

Similar sentiments echoed by Media Council CEO Mr. David Omwoyo who called on journalists generally to maintain integrity in the dispensation of their duties.

PHOTO/Pristone Mambili:Newly elected KUJ officials Nakuru Chapter.

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