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Government wrong to bar journalists from schools

By Editorial | January 6th 2021

The Government has banned journalists from visiting schools that reopened fully on Monday. This is a strange considering that parents and every Kenyan would like to know how their children are faring in school amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday, journalists revealed, through pictures and stories, the extent of preparedness of schools across the country. While some of the learning institutions were clearly well prepared, majority were not.

Social distancing, due to lack of adequate infrastructure and hand washing due to lack of water and soap were the biggest challenges.

While slapping the ban, the Government argued that journalists are potential coronavirus super spreaders as they tour many places and, therefore, may infect the children.

While that may sound like a genuine concern, the question should be whether journalists observe the guidelines laid down by the Health ministry while visiting schools. If we are to buy the Government's logic, it would then imply that journalists should also be barred from doing their work because they risk infecting the many members of the society they interact with everyday.

The crux of the matter is that Kenyans need to know how their children are faring. If there is no water in school, if there is no soap, if the children are not wearing masks, if the Government has dropped the ball and if children have fallen sick, parents need to know. Why? Because we are dealing with a very serious situation.

By locking out journalists, is the Government out to hide somethings? As long as journalists observe the Health ministry guildelines to the letter there is no good reason whatsoever to bar them from visiting schools.

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