JOURNALISTS URGED TO MAINTAIN PROFESSIONALISM DURING ELECTIONEERING PERIOD
Scribes have been warned against engaging in antagonistic journalism and instead adhere to professionalism especially during this critical time when the country is edging closer to General Elections set for August 9, 2022.
Speaking during a training and sensitization forum on code of conduct ahead of the General Elections at Breeze Hotel in Busia on Saturday, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Director, Media Training and Development Victor Bwire reminded the 20 journalists who attended the event on the need to understand that an election is a contest, and that they should endeavour to balance their reporting.
He underscored the need for the media to maintain accurate, fair, balanced, and impartial coverage of elections, adding that candidates vying for public offices should be given equal opportunities to be heard.
He stressed that Media plays an integral role in agenda setting and electoral process hence the need to ensure that voters have enough information on candidates and their manifesto so that they can make informed and responsible choices at the ballot.
“Even as you endeavour to cover every candidate fairly, make it your cardinal rule to ask politicians hard questions so that statements made are not only populist but achievable. Before sharing, verify every information considering what you publish affects the larger part of the community,” said Mr Bwire who was accompanied by Western Region Coordinator Evans Teddy Oundo.
Mr Bwire further challenged participants to work beyond their newsroom diaries and come up with stories that highlight the challenges affecting residents at grassroot level so that those in public office can be compelled to act or held responsible.
“Issues that affect people the most deserve the attention of the media. I urge you to consider issue based journalism that focuses on development and build communities. We are talking of opportunities in the health sector, industrialisation, tourism, culture, sports among others that can attract investment both locally and foreign based,” added the official, who is also the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the council.
Mr Oundo who highlighted the aspect of safety and protection of Journalists urged them to ensure they are accredited by the media watchdog, a necessity that remains crucial when seeking information as well as their own protection.
“Sometimes it becomes difficult to involve journalists who are not accredited in such trainings because of well-known reasons. We have already engaged security agencies on how to handle journalist, how to confirm their status on accreditation and their safety during election coverage,” he said.