The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) had a two day training programme in Migori town that brought together the church, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), Ministries of Interior and Coordination of National Government and Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology.
Speaking during the event that was organized at a Migori hotels, MCK Assistant Director for Training and Curriculum Development, Ms. Christine Nguku, said that the training was meant to enlighten the journalists on their responsibilities in the society and their code of conduct in the journalism profession.
The training also educated various stakeholders that included the church and NGOs on their responsibilities to journalists during information gathering, sharing and networking and to identify the gaps that needed to be identified by NGOs and the church in relation to the journalism profession.
The training also gave out an opportunity to the stakeholders to air their views on what they expected the media to be doing when seeking and gathering information for the public.
Ms. Nguku urged the media houses to ensure that they enroll their non-journalist staff, especially those that were working as co-host ‘comedy’ presenters for a two weeks Media Standards Training Programme. She said that the course was not meant to make them journalists but to help them have the basic necessary skills and knowledge of what was required of them in the media profession.
The official pointed out that the training will also help the non-journalist staff acquire the MCK accreditation to help identify them as media practitioners. She however, said that the non-journalist staff will be required to enroll in a media school to ensure that they get the necessary and comprehensive training in journalism.
Ms. Nguku said that the Council has started an internship programme to help media students have the necessary working skills in the media industry, in order to equip them with the necessary skills. She said that at the end of the internship, the interns will be awarded a certificate and an annual appraisal points in their forms.
She also noted that the Council was in the process of formulating a Professional Enhancement Curriculum that will help the media practitioner in newsrooms and media professionals as a whole.
The Deputy County Commissioner, Mr. Maguta Kibe, who represented the County Commissioner for Migori, said that journalists should understand that the police are not enemies of the press. “Sometimes we are asked to comment or verify something that is so sensitive or which we are not aware of and then accused of withholding the same information,” said Mr. Kibe.
He said that in matters to do with the police, the Sub-county Police Commander or Officer Commanding Police Station (OCS), are responsible to talk to the media.
He asked the journalists to desist from getting information from Chiefs and quoting them as authority in their stories. Mr. Kibe urged the journalist to report objectively in order to better the society.
“We provide security while journalists provide information. All this is necessary for the betterment of our society,” said Mr. Kibe.
The training also touched on issues of how to distinguish between fake and factual news, how to identify hate speech now that the country is entering in an electioneering period, and issues of conflict that always arises between the journalists and their sources.
Also present during the training was the MCK officials Mr. Teddy Evans the Kisumu Regional Coordinator, Senior Officer Research, Partnership and Strategy, Mr. Jacob Nyongesa, and the Manager Press Freedom Safety and Advocacy, Ms. Dinnah Ondari.
BY Geoffrey Makokha