The Government has pledged to support the Media to carry out their role by facilitating access to information to enhance a successful poll in the August 9th General Election.
State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary (PS) Ms Esther Koimett said the media needs access to credible, timely and reliable information and declared full support from the Ministry through the MCK to help strengthen professionalism by Media practitioners in their role of oversight during elections.
Speaking during an election Media Summit at Panafric Hotel on Friday, Ms Koimett identified the media as an intermediary between the institutions involved and the public thus making it a key stakeholder in the forthcoming elections.
“In the context of election, access to information is important for enabling citizens to constructively participate in the electoral process in all phases, pre, during and post elections and be able to hold public officers accountable in delivering their responsibilities,” said Koimett.
The PS urged all the registered political parties to respect the role of the media during elections and ensure journalists are not subjected to harassment, intimidation, hazards, threats or physical assault from their supporters or candidates.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Commissioner Mr Francis Mathenge stated that the media play a responsibility in educating the public on opportunities and challenges faced by the electoral commission.
“We are currently training police officers to be deployed to many areas to provide security on polling day. Every polling station will have 3 to 4 police officers,” said Mathenge.
On the other hand, MCK Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr David Omwoyo stated that their search shows that 34 million Kenyans rely on the media for information and believes that there are enough media platforms to deliver credible information to Kenyans.
Omoyo said that the media is more than ready to oversee the elections despite the challenge of inadequate personnel.
He disclosed that the Council has less than 15,000 registered journalists of whom 7,000 are deployed in 46,000 polling stations making it a challenge.
“Manipulation of Social Media is also another problem we are experiencing during this time,” Omwoyo added.
Meanwhile, the Katiba Institute Executive Director Ms Christine Nkonge indicated that the Judiciary has trained enough officers to cater for any problems experienced during the elections.
She also called for accountability and transparency during and after the elections.
By Caroline Mbusa and Stanslaus Mbithi