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MCK unveils elections reporting guidelines

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) in collaboration with various stakeholders is set to unveil a revised election reporting guidelines ahead of the 2022 general elections.

The media watchdog and other media players convened at a Kisumu hotel on Monday to deliberate on preparedness for the 2022 polls and approve the updated guidelines before being published and launched to be implemented by all journalists and media houses in the country.

Media Council of Kenya CEO David Omwoyo addressing various stakeholders at a Kisumu hotel on Monday where the council will unveil revised elections reporting guidelines for 2022 General Elections. Photo by  Joseph Ouma

A technical committee comprising of representatives from media houses, renowned editors, independent practitioners and media professional bodies developed the new guidelines that will be applied to ensure the forthcoming general elections are free, fair and peaceful.

Speaking in Kisumu during the event, Government Spokesman Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna urged journalists to report objectively during elections to enable consumption of accurate information among political players and the electorate hence mitigating potential conflicts.

“This country belongs to all of us, including the media and we should guard the peace we enjoy at all times,” Oguna said as he urged the media to remain responsible as they exercised their patriotic role.

Media plays a critical role in the electioneering period to enable citizens to make informed choices on issues and on candidates seeking electoral positions.

Speaking at the event, MCK Chairman Maina Muiruri called for collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to guarantee a conducive working environment for journalists through the elections cycle.

Muiruri said MCK has developed a comprehensive strategy on election preparedness, including training of journalists, provision of grants, setting up of media centers and eventually review of the election reporting guidelines to enhance reportage on electoral processes among many others.

MCK Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Omwoyo observed that adequate empowerment and training of the media fraternity is key in ensuring journalists cover the electioneering process professionally.

He reiterated calls for responsibility by political actors when dealing with media during elections. “We will advocate for sanctions against politicians who attack the media. You cannot lead the people well if you do not engage constructively with the press,” he noted.

Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Secretary General Mr. Erick Oduor echoed sentiments on the need to prohibit politicians who attacked the media from contesting for elective positions.

Journalists were urged to adhere to the stipulated reporting guidelines on elections as well as the Code of Ethics and uphold professionalism to earn public trust.

The two days conference in the lakeside city will culminate into the adoption of the Election Reporting Guidelines and commitment by stakeholders.

Also present were representatives from political parties and The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

By Robert Ojwang’

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