By KELVIN MBEWE
“Covering the outbreak of the corona virus is the most dangerous assignment that journalists have to undertake. This is because of the nature of work which requires journalists to interact with different people from all walks of life,” says internews global health media adviser Ida Jooste.
Close contact with a person with corona virus can lead to infection.
Journalists have therefore been urged to take precaution and be creative while covering the outbreak to ensure that they do not put themselves and others at risk of contracting the virus in the line of duty.Ms Jooste was speaking during an online cross border science café via zoom which attracted participants from the Media for environment, science, health and agriculture (MESHA) from Kenya, Health journalism network from Uganda, Humanitarian information facilitation Centre in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
She said journalists need to embrace technological ways of story gathering to avoid contact with sources.
Journalists are people and the people we interact with are people, this means that doing stories the way we used to do it is a dangerous activity. We now have to do what we used to discourage, the gathering of news without going in the field, she said.
According to Ms Jooste it is possible to call sources and ask them to record themselves and work from home.She also called on journalists to advocate for safety measures from the governments to avoid the further spread of the virus.
Most of our countries do not have proper masks and as journalists we need to advocate for proper masks and other protective gear to ensure our safety and the safety of other, she said.
Speaking at the same meeting Kenyan hiv care and treatment advocate Inviolata Mwali says the outbreak of the corona virus has brought everything to a standstill as all attention from donors and other stakeholders has been diverted to the outbreak.
She said the world must anticipate more surprises that will come with the outbreak of covid 19.
And Ms Mwali has called on the media not to expose those that have been infected with the corona virus as doing so can jeopardize their future.
The virus has so far claimed 102, 774 lives world with 1,669.019 confirmed cases and 376,976 recoveries.Theres currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID 19).