National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) on Wednesday held a sensitisation forum for Nandi County journalists and bloggers on how to report objectively now that we are heading to the election year.
The meeting which was held at a hotel in Kapsabet tackled issues on hate speech, ethnic contempt as well as measures that journalists ought to employ so as to ensure peaceful elections in the County and the Country at large come 2022.
Speaking at the event, NCIC Commissioner Eng Philip Okundi said the media need to be at the forefront in countering political intolerance, electoral violence, fake news, unpacking hate speech and incitements adding that as a commission they consider the media as a watchdog that can enhance peaceful coexistence in the country.
Eng Okundi urged all bloggers and journalists in the County to be constructive in their reporting, ensure whatever action they take is meant to promote peace and avoid being used by politicians for their self-interest so as to ensure peace prevails in Nandi in the coming elections.
“As NCIC we advocate for peace in our country. We consider the media as among the stakeholders that we should partner with to succeed in promoting peaceful elections. It is the media that can lead the public in the right direction since they act as a watchdog in the peace building process,” said Eng Okundi.
The commissioner further called upon the journalists and bloggers to avoid reporting information that has a potential to exacerbate communal trouble. He appealed to Nandi residents to love each other regardless of ethnic group or tribe.
Nandi County Commissioner, Herman Shambi on his part said, “Once we realize that we need to love our Country then we will be responsible in determining what goes to the public with the media being on the lead”.
Shambi said as the national government being one of the stakeholders that should promote peace during this election period, they have engaged Nandi County neighbours among them Vihiga, Kakamega and Kisumu Counties administrations as a strategy to ensure peace prevails at the borders.
“Journalists and bloggers serve as the mouthpiece of the public at large. Let us have a heart to love our Country. By this we can go miles. Ensure you are responsible in what you convey to the public,” noted Shambi.
He added that media practitioners should serve as good examples by channelling positive conversations in social media platforms especially in regard to the youths.
Among the strategies NCIC has employed include engaging politicians to ensure they mind their actions to avoid triggering the public to violence.
By Ruth Mainye