The Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ministry of Information Communications and Technology, Joe Mucheru, has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to supporting a free media in the country.
Speaking Friday during the opening of the Editors’ Annual Conference in a Mombasa, the CS said among the many roles the government plays is supporting press freedom and a free media for development to be achieved.
“As a government we are very supportive of a free media. With the media migration we now have many more media houses, over 170 radio stations, over 70 TV stations so the number has increased which in a sense also means the audience is increasing and shrinking for some,” observed Mucheru.
He, however, noted that what doesn’t seem to be increasing is the advertising that seems to be shrinking which is not governance related.
The CS took cognizant that in this era issues to take note is the request to make the media Councils Complaints Commission to become like the Ombudsman Office, assuring that his Ministry is looking into.
The ICT CS reiterated that the government has provided facilities, including the creation of independent institutions such as the Media Council with membership from the industry who forward a list to his office for approval without any alteration.
Mucheru said the government is contented to have an independent Media Council and that it is only the funding from government that connects the two.
“As a government, the only reason we are there is because of the financing but otherwise we are happy to look for this opportunity for making the Media Council an Independent Commission,” declared the CS.
The CS said nothing will necessarily change because, the government does not influence the Media Council.
He observed that the Media Council is independent and regulated by a Board that takes the decisions, citing that as a Minister he has matters that he raised at the Council’s complaint Commission which have not been resolved up to date.
The CS conveyed the commitment of the government under President Uhuru Kenyatta to ensure a free media, adding that the President shared his thoughts on media freedom in an earlier conversation today before the meeting.
“I had a conversation with the President this morning, he sent his greetings and he was very happy that many of you the editors used the SGR for the first time,” said CS Mucheru in his speech.
He observed that editors have written a lot about the SGR and that from the feedback he got all were excited on the price, the quality of service, security, safety of the SGR and the number of people it is bringing to Mombasa as well.
CS said the amount of tourist that is streaming to Mombasa is unprecedented and in that in this era of fake news it is not true that all cargo has to go through SGR.
He invited the editors to have the opportunity to visit and see the kind of infrastructure investment the government is putting in to ensure that growth is realized in the country.
The CS, specifically asked the editors to visit Mama Ngina Water Front Park and see the transformation that has happened as well, the new terminal for the cruise ships due to be launched by the President at the Mombasa Port soon.