The Media Council of Kenya and the Council of Governors have underscored the critical role of the media in promoting devolution.
Media Council of Kenya CEO David Omwoyo and the Council of Governors ICT and Knowledge Management Committee Chair Governor Wisley Rotich have pledged the two entities’ commitment to supporting the media to foster professional coverage of devolved units.
The two spoke in Mombasa Monday when they signed a working pact that will see the media working closely with County Governments to disseminate information from the counties.
The MoU will, among others, seek to enhance the collaborative capacity building of county communications and media staff, improve relations between county governments and journalists and development of training curricula on devolution for the media from model practical perspectives in the County Governments.
“While it is within the rights of the media to highlight shortcomings of government and those in authority they have an obligation to showcase successes and achievements after 10 years of devolution in Kenya. It is critical that Kenyans get access to timely relevant information from the counties”, said Omwoyo.
He said the MOU seeks to promote knowledge management and information sharing from and within the devolved units.
“The media plays a crucial role in devolved governance by informing the public about the actions and decisions of elected officials and government bodies at the local level. The media has progressively become a platform for the citizenry to voice their concerns and opinions on governance issues”, he added.
He implored county governments to grant journalists access to information, saying it will address misinformation and unnecessary conflicts that have often led to strained relationship between the media and devolved units.
“I urge County Governments to uphold the Access to Information law by enabling media to obtain the right information to facilitate informed and accurate coverage of matters of public interest”, said Omwoyo.
He urged the media to cover stories from the counties in a balanced manner, in strict adherence to journalistic ethics.
Rotich who is also Elgeyo Marakwet Governor affirmed the Council’s commitment to working with the media towards ensuring visibility of the counties.
“We are seeking collaborations with the media to market our counties. We want to showcase counties as centres of investments and development,” he said.
Governor Rotich said the counties will operationalise knowledge centres, which will grant access to the media to enable report accurately.
He pledged the counties’ commitment to provide conducive working environment for the media.