The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has urged editors to exercise their responsibility as espoused in the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya to enhance professionalism in the media industry.
MCK CEO Mr David Omwoyo asked editors to ensure that journalists’ stories are accurate and balanced.
“Never let facts get in the way of a good story. You should allow for a right of reply to avoid publishing apologies”, said Mr Omwoyo during a meeting between the Complaints Commission and Editors in Naivasha.
The CEO urged editors to remain at the forefront in accurate reporting, saying the media space has been invaded by fake news and misinformation, saying that audiences are now seeking verification from credible sources as opposed to journalists who were the gatekeepers of news.
He affirmed the Council’s commitment to hold more stakeholder forums to share and understand the ripple effects caused by the misreporting of news.
The Complaints Commission Chair Mr William Oketch gave an overview of the Complaints Commission mandate noting that it was established to intervene on media-related issues.
He noted that contrary to their mandate, there was a low uptake of cases involving complaints from journalists and that most of the complainants only wanted to be heard.
He said that the Commission had adopted mediation in its proceedings to resolve some of the disputes brought before them.
The Chair stated that during their tenure, most of the cases received were mainly breaches bordering on accuracy.
“In terms of breaches, a high number of complaints touched on accuracy and fairness. This shows that Kenyans know their rights in terms of what is reported by journalists”, he said.
He also mentioned that Nation Media Group had the highest number of cases lodged against them.
“The Nation Media Group was the media house with the highest number of complaints. This indicates that a larger number of people watch and read the Daily Nation”, he stated.
Mr Oketch pointed out the issue of gender balance in the number of complaints received, noting that majority of the cases were lodged by male complainants.
He submitted that the turnaround time for cases at the Commission was between four to seven months depending on the dispute resolution mechanism applied.
Editors present expressed their gratitude to the Commission and requested the Council to organise more forums where they can be able to get feedback on the stories aired and the breaches committed by media houses and journalists.