Kenya Monday joined the rest of the world in marking the World Press Freedom day, under the theme “Information as a Public Good“.
This year’s theme serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind.
The theme is of urgent relevance to all countries across the world. It recognizes the changing communications system that is impacting on our health, our human rights, democracies and sustainable development.
The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) is leading the country in marking the day amid alleged muzzling of the media not just by state operatives and politicians but also within media houses, with some resorting to self-censorship amid intimidation by the powerful.
The MCK CEO David Omwoyo has also urged journalists to prioritize fact checking info before publishing, more efficiently during pandemics.
The National Council of NGOs has also joined the Media fraternity and other key stakeholders in the country to mark the day.
In a statement the NGO council’s national chairman, Stephen Cheboi, lauded the media for the great work they are doing despite the many challenges they face among them the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.
“The Media play an important role in our society in Education and informing the public, Information, and knowledge in our age and era are powerful tools, and a free and independent press is the core in connecting the public to the information that is much needed to advocate for issues that affect them, make necessary informed decisions, and holding public officials and institutions accountable in their actions. We laud the media for the great work they are doing despite the many challenges they face among them the ongoing COVID19 pandemic. Freedom of expression and access to factual and accurate information provided by media is foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.” He said
The council said the freedom of expression and access to factual and accurate information provided by the media was foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.
Hailed as the fourth pillar of democracy, the press, its reporters, editors and photographers – have always risked their reputations and lives for the truth behind events.
Such tasks require a degree of freedom which is guaranteed by the constitutions of democratic nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The day is celebrated to ensure the protection and safety of the press in the face of attacks against its independence, to discuss journalistic ethics and to celebrate journalists who gave their lives in the pursuit of truth.