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Government keen to review media regulatory and policy

There is need for the country’s media regulatory and policy environment to be reviewed to make it reflective of the present industry needs.

The Principal Secretary, State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Esther Koimett said the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs is keen on working with the Media Council of Kenya and other stakeholders in the media industry to ensure that the country has a media that serves public interest and works responsibly.

Koimett said it is in the interest of the country and citizenry that media reports that are of public interest are factual and objective, and cautioned journalists against publishing and airing unverified information during this era of misinformation, propaganda and misuse of online platforms.

“We urge the media to practice balanced and professional reporting to fulfill their mandate to the country,” she said, adding that Kenyans expect the media to help them make a difference in their lives and promote transparency and good governance in a professional and responsible manner.

Broadcasting and Telecommunications PS Esther Koimett (4th right), Nairobi Women Representative, Esther Passaris (1st left), Nairobi County Senator, Johnson Sakaja (3rd right) among other top officials of the Standard Group Media on Monday 29th, November 2021 at the Standard Group Headquarters. Photo by Widen Ratemo

She reiterated the government’s commitment to invest in media development, to respect freedom of the press and to foster improvement in the sector through standards, procedures and practices that promote goodwill among stakeholders.

The PS was speaking on Monday during the launch of the Standard Media Group’s (SG) Converged Newsroom and Revamped KTN News at the Standard Group headquarters, Mombasa Road, the first of its kind in East Africa.

The objective of the Converged Newsroom is to transform news and other content streams across platforms into one integrated unit.

Koimett commended the SG for the transformation, saying that the ultra-modern converged newsroom will enable the media house to tell more effective stories and to offer more opportunities for the public to be involved in a story, as well as remain relevant in the competitive sector.

“We expect this convergence will serve the purpose of keeping our populace informed, educated and entertained through balanced, objective reporting and wholesome productive content,” she said.

The PS said the digital revolution requires media houses and journalists to adapt to the new changes or risk perishing, noting that the Standard Group convergence will enable them to take content from the traditional print platform into the digital space, especially the mobile phone which is currently the leader in content consumption among Kenyan audiences.

Koimett at the same time noted that the country is looking forward to a situation where the electronic media in its role of informing, educating and corporate social responsibility will provide Kenyans with free public service announcements, as it happened during the Covid-19 pandemic when media houses disseminated messages of the pandemic to the public.

She said the government has also put in place infrastructure across the country for transmitting information, to promote the rapid spread and exploitation of knowledge, and assured that the ministry will continue to modernize and expand the infrastructure to improve access and quality of service.

Speaking at the event, Nairobi County Senator Johnson Sakaja said the country is only remaining with 252 days to the General Elections and urged the media in its role of redefining democracy, not to amplify sentiments and leaders who bring the country down.

“You should always be objective in your reporting,” stressed Sakaja.

He at the same time emphasized on the need for artists and musicians to be paid royalties by those using their contents and urged media houses to increase local content saying Kenyans have a lot of talent which needs to be promoted.

The Chair of the Editorial Committee and Deputy Chairman, Standard Group Dr. Julius Kipng’etich said Standard Group will partner with the government and other stakeholders to educate the public by giving them right information to enable them make right and informed decisions.

The SG Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu in his remarks said SG will continue to collaborate with its customers, partners and regulators as the future lies on the spaces which they can work together to make a difference.

“I believe the media plays a key role, our collaboration will build a thriving environment where media can grow, create employment and make the country a middle income nation,” he said.

Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris in her remarks urged media houses to set the pace in condemning gender based violence among both genders, noting the digital space has been abused by those perpetrating the violence.

By Bernadette Khaduli and Oscar Oganga

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