Media Professionals Urged to Consider Objective Coverage of General Elections

Media professionals have been urged to safeguard credibility and accuracy during coverage to support the process of free, fair, acceptable, peaceful and democratic general elections.

Speaking during the Training of Public Information Officers in Kisumu, the Director of Government Advertising Agency (GAA), Mr. Gwaro Ogaro, advised the information officers to consider the core values and ethical principles in covering elections.

He noted that as gatekeepers, journalists have the mandate to maintain public service values by ensuring proper conflict-sensitive reporting.

“When writing political statements, you need to navigate and frame the information in a positive way which does not translate to conflicts among the citizens,” he emphasized.

Ogaro further stated guidelines when presenting conflict-sensitive reports as follows: avoid projecting opinions as facts, avoid framing conflict only from the perspective of leaders and opinion shapers by reporting accurately and constructively.

The core values, he said, comprise of accuracy and fairness, confidentiality of sources, integrity, objectivity and protection of privacy.

“In order to be on the safe side of the law, you should ensure that you follow the core values and ethics which were developed by the MCK. Peaceful reporting is very essential especially during general elections,” he emphasized.

Similarly, the director of media training and development, Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Mr. Victor Bwire also urged journalists to provide comprehensive, accurate, impartial and fair coverage of elections.

He underscored that the media has duty to the citizen, the contestants and the nation. Duty to the citizen, he said, is fulfilled by empowering citizens to make informed choices and giving them a voice.

“As information officers, you should ensure that you perform your duty to the country by being responsible, relaying factual information from authorized sources, and avoiding impartiality. Despite supporting different parties, your stories should be free from bias,” he noted.

Additionally, Bwire added that journalists should provide candidates with equitable and impartial opportunities during coverage.



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