ZAMBIA Institute of Independent Media Alliance (ZIIMA) has asked the Ministry of Health to help frontline journalists and media institution with donated masks and hand sanitizer in wake of coronavirus.
In a statement, ZIIMA president Jajah Coulibaly said frontline journalists were also risked contracting COVID-19 during their course of duty but yet where not considered on the beneficiary list.
Coulibaly noted that journalists from various institutions have taken a frontline role since the outbreak of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.
He said journalists and media institutions covering COVID-19 stories had been neglected despite playing a critical role in disseminating information against the virus.
“Every day, journalists take risks to cover health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya’s COVID-19 updates, screening exercises, sensitisation programmes and other assignments. Yet, there is no one who seems to care about the safety and overall contribution of journalists. The worst is that even the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services which is supposed to be concerned about the welfare of journalists is quiet on this issue. Instead, the ministry only speaks to condemn and acts to punish journalists. It is never concerned about their welfare,” he said.
“We have seen massive donations to government and its aligned institutions, and journalists are invited by both the donor and the recipient to cover such events. Yet, no one has ever cared to donate anything to the media, not even simple masks and sanitizers. Journalists are probably deemed to be immune to COVID-19,” he said.
Coulibaly appealed to government to come to the aid of reporters with the help of protective materials.
“We therefore ask the Ministry of Health to donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to individual journalists and media houses that cover these risky assignments,” said Coulibaly.
“Equipment most journalists use is shared by various staff in newsrooms, especially microphones, cameras, and recorders. It is for this reason that we request that government works out a modality of distributing some of the donated items equally to media houses and, in some cases, to individual journalists.”
NOTE: File picture (taken way before coronavirus)
©Kalemba April 22, 2020