CS Mucheru urges media to report responsibly
Media houses have been called upon to practice responsible journalism during this electioneering period for the sake of peace and security in the country.
Information, Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary (CS), Joe Mucheru said this is critical where the media is required to be vigilant against machinations using the press to set personal and selfish agenda and vendetta.
Mucheru said as gate keepers of the public, the media should not comprise their profession, vigilance and allow external forces to advance their agenda to the detriment of innocent citizens.
“Your patriotic duty is to adhere to the code of ethics of objectivity, fairness and balanced coverage and not sacrifice reporting for the sake of profits or handouts,” added the CS.
Speaking on Wednesday during the Commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day at a Nairobi hotel, Mucheru said the government considers the media as a crucial partner in driving the country’s development agenda and would continue to provide them with a conducive environment within which they could operate and flourish.
He, however, asked the media to refocus on development rather than criticizing the government, noting that time has come for the media to build synergies and put emphasis on the implementation of strategic partnerships that would lead to a stronger media sector in the country and entire African region.
The CS said the government was determined to protect the media working space, as well as take punitive measures against those assaulting journalists.
“We regret the isolated instances where journalists have been harassed, beaten or even lost their lives in their line of duty. This situation is unacceptable,” said Mucheru.
He said the government acknowledges that freedom of the press is a prerequisite for democracy since media have a critical role in shaping credible political formations and their legitimacy.
“We also appreciate the role media plays in promoting good governance and harmonization of political relationships during mediation,” added Mucheru.
He at the same time, called on the media to monitor their performance regularly and engage stakeholders on policy, media law and regulation to safeguard improved media ecosystem and freedom.
On journalists’ salaries and safety, the CS urged media houses to consider offering their staff protection, adequate working tools and attractive remuneration as a motivation and compensation for their good work.
He also cited lack of information infrastructure, skills and literacy to access and critically evaluate information as some of the challenges undermining media freedom, noting that the parameters hindered most people from expressing their views publicly.
Speaking at the event, Kenya Editors’ Guild Chairman, Linus Kaikai said the media fraternity in Kenya would continue to offer service of public interest and hold to account those holding leadership positions on behalf of the public.
“I urge newsrooms to tighten gate keeping processes and place high value in sound editorial judgment to protect the credibility of journalism in this era of fake news,” added Kaikai.
Secretary General Kenya Union of Journalists, Eric Odour called on the government to address the wage issue of media correspondents, noting that if a proper policy is put in place, it would address both the hiring, sacking and payment mode of journalists in media houses.
He said currently, the media industry in the country is not supported by any policy, a reason that has hindered the industry from getting support from employers.
Press Freedom Day is a special occasion where members of the Fourth Estate defend the independence of the media, pay tribute to gallant journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty, evaluate press freedom in their countries and across the globe, as well as award journalists with excellence awards.
Present at the event, were the Principal Secretary (PS) for Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Sammy Itemere and the Chairman Media Council of Kenya, Charles Kerich among others.
By Bernadette Khaduli