By Richard Muhambe
The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has challenged journalists across the country to stand by the tenets of their profession as they cover political activities during this electioneering year.
The Council Deputy CEO, Victor Bwire urged journalists to ensure their news reports are balanced, accurate and objective.
Bwire appealed to colleague journalists to avoid being enticed with hand-outs from politicians to compromise the quality of news.
“The council is informed that there are about 26 journalists who are on politicians’ payroll,” he said.
Speaking during a media forum for journalists based in Meru County at a Meru Hotel on Thursday, the council official asked reporters to improve coverage of women aspirants to give them a fair platform with their male counterparts.
“There have been complaints that the media has been giving women politicians a blackout since they do not have enough resources to facilitate their events,” he said.
He appealed to reporters to avoid demeaning women by stereotyping their family issues and personal lives but instead prioritize their vision for the electorate.
The Deputy CEO also urged to scribes to refrain from propagating retrogressive cultural beliefs that some communities hold in order to encourage more women to vie for electable seats in the forthcoming polls.
He challenged the media to set agenda so that the two-thirds gender rule is realised in all leadership positions.
Meanwhile, Bwire has rubbished the existence of “breaking news” in journalism arguing that the modern trend in information technology has left the concept to citizen journalists.
Bwire in particular cautioned journalists against fueling tension among communities as the country moves towards the next general elections, warning that any recurrence of violence would also not spare reporters.
“Let us be keen on our choice of words during reporting since some words can escalate tension among supporters of political opponents,” he urged.
Elsewhere, the Media Council has announced that it will train over 3,000 journalists across the country on how to cover this year’s general election starting next month.