Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS), Joe Mucheru, has urged the media practitioners to deliberately and purposefully disseminate truthful, verifiable and factual information to the public.
Mucheru said as the country nears the General Elections, social media has been awash with all manner of propaganda, aimed at swaying voting preferences.
“Verification and fact Checking should be at the core of the journalistic etiquette, and this is one way of ensuring the sustainability of legacy media in a digital world, as an authentic source of information,” said Mucheru.
The CS was speaking, today, at a Nairobi hotel, during the 19th Annual General Meeting for the World Association of Press Councils (WAPC), where he commended the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) for hosting it.
He challenged all regulators in the world to lead their organisations in nurturing media policies that are not limited to national landscapes, ensuring that the policies interrogate the trends within the global sphere, as the convergence of industries through technology is there to stay.
Mucheru cited that the Constitution of Kenya 2010, under Articles 33, 34, and 35, provides for Freedom of Expression, Freedom of the Media and Access to Information.
He described the media industry in Kenya, as one of the most vibrant regionally, with 150 FM stations spread across the country, over 271 television stations, five (5) mainstream Daily newspapers and over 100 online based media platforms.
This robust growth, Mucheru noted, has been made possible through the support accorded by the Government, through the creation of an enabling environment and allocation of resources to grow and expand the media sector.
He said that one of the biggest milestones for the Kenyan media industry was the 2015 digital migration that opened up the space for the establishment of more digital platforms.
The CS further said statistics globally show that software piracy costs software makers an estimated USD 15 billion annually (Gershon, 2017), adding that the consequences are mostly felt in the information, entertainment and creative industries.
“As we are all aware, access to Digital content is shifting away from channel – specific systems to Over The Top (OTT) streaming platforms such as Netflix, iTunes and our very own ViuSasa,” said Mucheru, adding that these platforms are capable of providing consumers with access to a variety of news and entertainment content through the internet, and at the comfort of their mobile devices.
While acknowledging policies and regulations that are constantly playing catch up with the rapid digital technology advances, and governments worldwide are hard pressed to ensure that they are in tandem with the changes, Mucheru said the Government, through the Ministry of ICT has developed the 2019 National ICT Policy, that futuristically envisions the benefits promised by the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
The MCK Chief Executive Officer, David Omwoyo, said his Council is targeting training about 2,000 journalists to see that they can report fairly avoiding misinformation and hate speech.
“The Media Council of Kenya is working on a training manual so that journalists across the country can practice impartiality in their work, especially this electioneering period,” said Omwoyo.
The WAPC Annual General Meeting comes at a time when the world is commemorating the World Press Freedom Day that is celebrated every 3rd of May globally, under the theme, Journalism under Digital Siege.
By Catherine Muindi