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Media regulators focus on responsible media consumption

With technological advancement, media regulators are developing guidelines for use by social media and artificial intelligence, aimed at ensuring scribes report objectively and maintain professionalism.

Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Director for Media Training and Development Victor Bwire speaking at a Nanyuki hotel during a two-day workshop for journalists and civil society, said that professionalism in reporting was not only for mainstream media, but also in the use of social media and artificial intelligence (AI).

“MCK has brought together a team that is developing guidelines in the media use of AI, social media and data protection. The guideline is going to deal with the problem of people thinking that if they are not mainstream, since the law only applies to mainstream, that they are exempted,” he said.

A section of journalists and civil society at a Nanyuki hotel during a Media Council of Kenya workshop.

Bwire revealed that they were concerned over the misuse of the social media platforms to engage in unprofessional ethics, which was against the law, hence with the policies being developed, it targets to tame the vice irresponsible reporting in the media sector.

“We are concerned about the people who are misusing some of the platforms to engage in unprofessional ethics and once these guidelines are out, they will help on how they can use those platforms as long as your content is news,” pointed out Bwire.

He noted that with the rapidly evolving media landscape and the challenges of misinformation and disinformation, regulators in Kenya were boosting up their efforts to promote responsible consumption of media content.

“As regulators, we are in a space where everything is changing too fast in the sense of information overflow, information pollution and the issue of disinformation and people are calling for a responsible consumption of media content,” said Bwire.

Recognizing that regulators cannot reach every household in Kenya, the Director noted that the focus has shifted to empowering the media consumers themselves.

The aim is to ensure media and digital literacy among the public, raising awareness about the prevalence of disinformation and information overload.

He said that it was crucial for Kenyans to become responsible consumers and understand the biases that may exist within media due to influences from advertisers, owners and journalists.

Bwire cautioned that media was not a rogue industry, but rather a sector with oversight and at the same time encouraged Kenyans whose rights were violated due to the media content not to shy away from reporting to the appropriate regulatory bodies, rather than targeting individual journalists.

Moreover, Laikipia residents were encouraged to utilize their social media spaces to provide valuable information to the public such as local content, weather updates for farmers and promoting peaceful coexistence and national values.

By Muturi Mwangi

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