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Governor challenged to support community based FM stations

Media Council of Kenya (MCK) chief executive officer David Omwoyo has urged governors to utilize community based radio and television stations when passing local information like announcements or advertisements instead of rushing to national media houses.

Omwoyo said the move would help develop and boost the stations in terms of revenue generation and employment in respective regions.

He said the colossal sums of money spent by county governments in placing announcements and advertisements on national radio or newspapers would have been channeled to local FM stations spread across the county to build their capacities to employ more reporters and other staff thus alleviating the current high unemployment rate.

Speaking during a one day training on enhancing media professionalism in Kenya at  Kabarnet town attended by journalists from Baringo County, the MCK official said county governments should not be obsessed with national media houses when passing information meant for local communities and relevant parties.

“I feel it is not right for county governments to rush to national radio stations or newspapers to place announcements on land or business rates which would be more effectively relayed through a local FM radio or Television station. I challenge governors to use such monies to boost the local stations by giving them opportunity to disseminate local content to area residents,” he emphasized.

Omwoyo said that the MCK has come up with a media policy which has already been submitted to Parliament which among other things seeks to compel county governments to give advertisement quotas to community based FM or television stations within their regions to help such stations to develop.

In the training organized by Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) and attended by the organization’s executive director Marceline Nyambala, the CEO challenged journalists to avoid accepting bribes from news sources as that compromised their independence and objectivity in news reporting.

“If you solicit for a bribe from a politician or any other source while promising them that their news article will get space in the newspaper or radio and it fails due to competition, then you will be in hot soup. Don’t cheat your source that his or her story will appear the following day yet you are not the final decision maker,” he stated.

Omwoyo also advised the journalists drawn from various media institutions to ensure they get accredited by the MCK every year for them to benefit from services offered by the Council.

He said the council would not protect journalists who were not duly accredited with the council whenever they faced problems while carrying out their duties.

Omwoyo said journalists do not enjoy immunity and advised them to observe the laws of the land reiterating that any reporter found violating the law would have himself to blame.

He asked the participants to embrace partnership and collaboration approach with news sources particularly security officers while covering issues related with security.

Ms. Nyambala urged the journalists not to entertain politicians who demean women aspirants as we approach the 2022 general elections.

By Joshua Kibet

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