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Parliament wants journalists trained for efficient reporting 

The National Assembly leadership has challenged media houses to train a particular cadre of parliamentary journalists to help build their competence in reporting legislative processes.

Speaker of the National Assembly Mr. Moses Wetangula said that some journalists have misreported the process of legislation by failing to distinguish between a law, motion or bill among other terminologies used in parliament.

Speaking during a National Assembly Leadership and Editors’ retreat at a Mombasa Hotel, Wetangula said the Parliament is ready to set aside a budget and do cost sharing with respective media houses to give the journalists training on parliamentary reporting.

“We have had some instances where an honorable member that posed a question during parliamentary session is reported to have proposed a bill. I encourage you to have some specialized training whereby there will be a tailored course to give some refreshments to journalists who are seconded to the Parliament by their media houses so that when the public is informed there is no risk of misinformation,” he said.

The speaker also informed the media that the 13th Parliament under his leadership will ensure that there is no compromise to the rights of journalists while carrying out their duties.

He said the house will be on first hand to defend the freedom of the media adding that Parliament is open to enquiries from journalists looking for information for their news stories.

“We urge journalists to practice etiquette while doing their work. In any event that you are unsure about certain information, seek clarification from the clerk so that you share what is correct to the public in terms of legislation,” he said.

He noted that plans are underway for the setting up of a media centre at the Parliament precincts that is fully equipped to aid journalists in their work. He urged journalists to be unbiased and keep fidelity to facts and the law despite their political affiliations but give everyone an equal space in the media.

He challenged the media to mix both political and developmental content that will help in building the country economically.

“You are human beings and its okay to have preferences but as the Fourth Estate you have a role in ensuring your stories contribute to the growth of this country. Do not let politicians set the agenda of this nation but instead give the farmer who is working hard to feed the country a headline for his efforts to be recognized,” he said.

On his part, Chairman Communication, Information and Innovation Committee Mr. John Kiarie said that Parliament is ready to collaborate with the media as the leadership understands the essence of communication.

Kiarie said Parliament also has a role in ensuring that it communicates in a style that is comprehensible to people from all walks of life. “I agree there is need for classical skills to journalists reporting in Parliament to be informed to avoid doing de-service,” he said.

Council Member in charge of Online Spaces Mr. Francis Mureithi acknowledged the Parliament’s effort to ensure journalists have a conducive working environment when reporting parliamentary sessions.

Mureithi said that the Parliament has worked to make the work of the media friendlier.

By Chari Suche 

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