By Joyce Lutomia
The Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary (PS), Sammy Itemere has warned radio stations against broadcasting news likely to create recipe for chaos in the ongoing political contestations.
Itemere called upon the Communications Authority Kenya (CAK) of Kenya and the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) to enforce the regulatory tools and instruments at their disposal to ensure that the broadcast media in Kenya operated within the law.
“This must be done without fear or favour in order to safeguard peace, stability and moral fabric of our people and country,” he said.
The PS cited as an example the Rwanda genocide of 1994 where radio was used irresponsibly to create hatred which led to massive loss of lives.
“Let us not lose sight of the fact that radio, if put into wrong use, can trigger ethnic and religious animosity, thus destabilizing nations,” said Itemere.
Speaking in Nairobi on Monday during the World Radio Day, the PS asked broadcast stations to exercise freedom conferred to them by the Constitution firmly, prudently and responsibly especially as the Country prepares for the 2017 General Election.
A representative from UNESCO, Christine Maingi, urged radio stations to adhere to regulatory laws because radio is uniquely positioned to bring communities together and foster dialogue for change.
“Radio is still dynamic, reactive and engaging in the 21st century with the technological advancement,” she said, adding that the media landscape of our nation has grown enormously in the last decade.
Ms. Maingi said radio was a vehicle which could be used to enhance peace in our nation and especially during this key period as we prepare to engage in the coming elections.
“The good news is that we can use radio to dispel mistrust and suspicion among people who share different political grounds,” she added.
Meanwhile, an independent research has revealed that the number of radio stations countrywide increased tenfold over the last decade from 10 in 1999 to 107 in 2010, with a total 139 FM stations as at June 30th 2016.
This year’s celebration aimed at raising greater awareness among the public on the importance of radio as a medium that improve international cooperation between broadcasters, and to encourage broadcasters to promote access to information, freedom of expression and cultural diversity over the airwaves.