Scribes advised to be professional when covering elections

Journalists have been advised to be professional when covering Kenya’s forthcoming General Election slated for 9th August this year.

Nyanza region Media Council of Kenya (MCK) coordinator Evans Teddy told journalists drawn from the region’s counties of Migori, Homabay, Kisii and Nyamira Counties this during a workshop to retool and equip them with skills which will enable them effectively and reliably report on Kenya’s forthcoming general election.

“Any Election is an emotive exercise where people have vested personal interests which makes it have very heightened working environments. That is why journalists assigned to cover them must execute their duties professionally adhering strictly to the Code of Conduct and Ethics as outlined by MCK guidelines to avoid unwarranted conflicts or law suits,” Teddy said.

The Nyanza MKC coordinator pointed out that security and protection of journalists when covering general election which are emotive and tension filled, is critical because they are expected to relay accurate and timely news and information to members of the public on the entire elections exercise.

“Some journalists have experienced very ugly and life-threatening situations during the electioneering period where they are assaulted, harassed, intimidated, their working tools confiscated and destroyed while in the line of duty. This is why we have decided to equip them with skills on how they will professionally undertake their duties amidst a volatile environment,” Teddy explained.

Mr. Jacob Nyukuri, MCK officer in charge of Research, Planning and Strategy cautioned journalists against biased reporting and propagating hate speech and fake news adding that they will have to carry their own cross if found culpable by law.

“Journalist must guard against being compromised by sources to skew news in their favour since such news will be imbalanced. Rushing to report ‘breaking news’ without proper verification is unprofessional and will not be tolerated. In the event the news turns out to be fake in the first place, the entire media house will be plunged into problems due to complaints from an aggrieved party,” Mr. Nyukuri warned.

Ms. Queenter Mbori, one of the workshop facilitators, told journalists to be on high alert about emergencies and quickly respond appropriately because their safety at the work place comes first given there is no story worth their lives.

She emphasized that reporting should be free from gender stereotyping and/or other biases which disadvantage competitors and portray some sources as weaker or not worthy to hold leadership posts or play particular roles in society.

The regional coordinator appealed to unaccredited journalists to ensure they get accredited by MCK to enable the council assist them whenever they find themselves in trouble while in the line of duty covering elections or during regular news gathering assignment.

He assured that they have partnered with relevant agencies including the security departments to ensure that journalists are accorded the security they require while undertaking their duties while covering elections and effectively inform citizens on all the happenings during the election period.



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