Journalists from Laikipia County have been trained on reporting violent extremism-related stories, which sought to equip the scribes and bloggers on the sensitivity of reporting on terrorism-related attacks.
The one-day training conducted by officials from the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in Nanyuki town brought together 25 media practitioners from the region and several online influencers.
The weekend training was a culmination of the Laikipia County Engagement Forum that aims at Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) and Foundation For Dialogue (FFD), the lead agency in mainstreaming PCVE sensitization in the county through its director Dr. Michael Mugo, who said that the training was necessitated by the fact the there was evidence that terrorists can use the media to amplify terror activities.
Dr. Mugo said that there was a need for journalists to be part of the war against fighting terrorism in the country, and therefore the need in countering terror narratives.
“We are seeking to empower journalists with the knowledge that when reporting on terrorism that they need to be responsible and not seem to glorify the terror acts, so that the media also plays a crucial part in fighting the war,” Dr. Mugo said.
The participants were informed that Kenya has had over 200 terror incidences since 1980, and therefore the need to be proactive in eliminating any threats by sensitizing the public to be on the lookout for any possible attacks, recruitment into terror organizations, and terrorism financing.
Dr. Mugo noted that terrorism in the country has metamorphosed from the eighties and nineties when foreigners were involved, as opposed to the current situation where radicalized locals are the combatants.
“Terrorism in Kenya has evolved from being a foreign component to local participation, therefore the need to be proactive since the violent extremists are not fixated in one place,” Dr. Mugo added.
Fidel Wangai, one of the bloggers who attended the training said that it was insightful and timely, noting that the knowledge acquired would go a long way in equipping mainstream and social media practitioners on responsible reporting of any terror-related incidence.
“We are now more knowledgeable on how to handle terror-related stories than we were before and I believe this will go a long way in the fight against terror,” Wangai said after the training.
By Martin Munyi