Veteran NTV Journalists Ken Mijungu and Harith Salim are among various employers fired by the Nation Media Group days after the giant media firm announced its intention to restructure.
Taking to his twitter handle this morning, popular NTV news presenter Ken Mijungu broke the news saying, “The axe fell @NTVnewsroom and I was on its way. 7 years in those corridors summed up in a two-page letter of termination. We live to fight another day. Thanks to God, He remains the greatest, thank you. @ntvkenya for the opportunity and thank you for always staying tuned.”
Mijungu was a prime time news presenter who also hosted morning show AMLive, and Side Bar show where he interviewed various personalities and politicians. Debarl Inea also featured prominently on AMLive show while Harith Salim anchored Swahili news. In the process spearhead by CEO Stephen Gitagama, NMG seems to target its senior employees who earn huge salaries as well as some lower cadres long term employees.
The restructuring is meant to cushion the company from lost revenue as a result of Covid 19 with the Head of Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Clifford Machoka saying, “It is an extremely difficult decision in view of the prevailing circumstances and we understand the impact this will have on those affected and their families”.
“This exercise will be carried out with utmost due respect to our employees and within the Kenyan laws. We will strive to provide all the necessary support to help them manage the transition,” adds Clifford Machoka.
Other media companies that have laid off their staff include Mediamax Limited and Royal Media Services Limited who sacked dozens of journalists citing shrinking revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This has seen famous journalists such as Betty Kyalo, Asha Mwilu and Phelix Odiwuor also known as Jalango move on to other things. While Jalang’o has been absorbed back to Kiss100 where he kicked off his career, Mwilu launched her own company called Debunk Media, while Betty Kyallo launched a YouTube platform and recently relaunched her spa Flair by Betty.
Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu has attributed retrenchment across media houses to digital disruptions and the Covid-19 pandemic adding that the decisions are necessary to save more people, adding that with the shrinking revenues, if nothing is done, a whole media house could go down.
Kenya Editors Guild President Churchill Otieno recently called for tax incentives, waivers of licensing and signal carriage fees, to cushion media houses from the negative effects of COVID-19. He also called for the creation of a sustainability fund and urged the government to clear the pending bills running into billions it owes the industry in advertising fees through the Government Advertising Agency.