The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has called for enhanced collaboration with media and security agencies to ensure journalists’ safety during elections.
MCK CEO David Omwoyo said an effectual partnership between the regulator, media owners, newsroom managers, individual journalists and law enforcement agencies is key in safeguarding the safety and protection of journalists during elections.
Omwoyo spoke Thursday, 23rd September when the Council received the reviewed elections coverage guidelines from the Technical Review Committee appointed to update the guidelines to reflect critical issues in the prevailing media environment and landscape.
“The Council will enable the media to abide by the guidelines. We have done this to forestall a situation, like in the past, where other actors in the election management system break the law and other codes of ethics and then blame the media for being the problem,” said Omwoyo.
He said the Council will undertake intensive training and capacity building after the launch and adoption of the guidelines.
“We will cover all mainstream, vernacular and community media, targeting both journalists and media practitioners across the country.
“Our ultimate aim is to ensure that the media plays its role in ensuring a free fair, peaceful and transparent election facilitated by access to information and other best practices in election management,” said Omwoyo.
For his part, MCK Chairman Maina Muiruri said the guidelines are a self-regulation tool as exemplified by the membership of the committee that is drawn from media houses, associations, and independent practitioners and media professional bodies.
“The Council will continue to leverage partnerships and collaborations within the industry for more strategies in preparing the media to play its part in ensuring a free and fair election in August 2022”, said Muiruri.
The final guidelines will be launched in Kisumu next week, where media stakeholders will sign commitments to the document before roll out.