The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) have rolled out a capacity building training for field reporters on human rights violations.
The MCK Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Victor Bwire said many journalists find it hard to detect and correctly report issues touching on human rights.
He said the partnership between MCK and the Muslim for Human rights organisation is borne out of the realisation that most journalists lack the skills on human rights reporting.
Bwire said MCK has partnered with the rights body to equip county based media personnel with the skills to detect human right issues and report correctly.
The veteran journalist said in the coastal region there have been reported cases of extrajudicial executions, enforced disa ppearances and arbitrary arrests of those suspected to be connected or sympathetic to terror groups.
“But the way journalists have been reporting human rights violations leaves a lot to be desired and so we are out to enrich their knowledge base,” he said.
He cautioned journalists against ruining innocent people’s lives by branding them suspected terrorists without a judicial process saying it has far reaching implications.
“There is arguably no worse label today than being branded a terrorist because it can for example even prevent people from getting jobs,” he said and added that journalists should report issues of security with a lot of sensitivity.
The Muhuri official, Abdulrahman Mwangoka said cases of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture and related human rights violations have been reported in the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu.
He said extra judicial killings and forced disappearances were the worst form of human rights violations and must be eradicated through collaborative efforts between rights groups and the media.
“Poor understanding of human rights issues is an impediment to good human rights reporting,” he said.
He said the media together with the civil society can bring out into the open human rights abuses and force the government to honour its commitments to respecting human rights.
By Hussein Abdullahi