Kenya: Journalists Raise Personal Safety Alarm, Fake News
As the country prepares for the 2022 general election, media practitioners have raised concerns about their personal safety and challenges related to fake news.
The secretary general of the Kenyan Journalists’ Association, Eric Oduor, said the issue of security has led to self-censorship in the media and thus disrupted newsrooms.
“We will not allow violent criminals against journalists to flourish. We will ensure that politicians who promote violence against journalists are banned from voting, ”Oduor said on Monday.
He spoke at the Ciala Resort in Kisumu during a workshop organized by the Kenya Media Council (MCK) on election preparation and election reporting.
The new guidelines for election reporting are a review of the 2017 guide, which should reaffirm the principles of journalism, i.e. being fair, balanced and verifying information before publication.
The Executive Director of the Association of Women in Media in Kenya (AMWIK), Ms. Judie Kaberia, noted that the media had been held responsible for their role in promoting violence in previous elections.
“We are committed to promoting democracy in the country. We cannot allow this country to sink into violence every 5 years,” she said.
She added: “The guidelines introduced today will help us avoid the mistakes the media made during the campaign period. We want our country to be stable after 2022.”
MCK chief David Omwoyo noted that the policy review should also address concerns about social media and blogs.
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“Another emerging problem concerns the behavior of individual journalists in their social media areas. They don’t get ethical in front of cameras or while writing in the newspapers and then get biased on social media, “Omwoyo said.
He said the document would address the concerns of media workers, especially those involved with content, if they vote in the elections and become candidates.
However, government spokesman Cyrus Oguna noted that some community radios were operating without rules.
“Who regulates what local politicians say on these community radios? We have all seen what happened in Kenya in 2007 and Rwanda in 1994. It was attributed to statements irresponsibly broadcast by radio stations,” he said.
“Journalists play a crucial role. Your pen becomes a weapon to protect this country. Whatever you report, you always wonder what the consequences will be.”