The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has urged community and regional media houses to formulate and implement in-house policies on security of journalists as part of supporting their staff in the line of duty.
Speaking during a sensitization forum for station managers in Kisii town on Thursday, MCK Press Freedom, Safety and Advocacy Manager, Dinah Ondari said station managers have a responsibility of developing and implementing policies on the safety and protection of journalists because they affect the way in which journalists conduct their work.
“Most of the time we talk about threats that journalists face in the field, but it is not often that station managers review internal policies to see what they can do to protect the staff that work under them and create a conducive working environment,” noted Ms. Ondari.
Ondari urged the station managers to create awareness on the already existing safety policies among their staff as it would help to govern the working environment of journalists and ensure they are safe.
She said the Council is committed to supporting media houses at the county level by facilitating them to come up with policies on safety and protection of journalists and correspondents in the newsroom and in the field.
Further, Ms. Ondari encouraged the participants to use the Journalists’ Safety hotline 0702 222 111 to report violations on personal safety and security issues among journalists in the line of duty.
The MCK’s Western Regional Coordinator, Evans Teddy told the media managers to not only focus on the safety of the journalists, but also the safety of the media house, equipment, and digital safety within the working environment.
He challenged them to adapt to new ways of conducting business as a result of the digital disruption being witnessed worldwide in order to ensure the sustainability of their stations.
The Regional Coordinator urged the station managers to create long-lasting relationships with clients to enable them to increase revenue and comfortably pay their bills as opposed to laying off staff as has been witnessed recently in the media industry.
By Mercy Osongo