National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has called for the proper remuneration of journalists to restore their integrity in the profession.
The speaker who was the Chief Guest at the World Press Freedom Day has also urged media houses to adapt to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and new media.
“Today is my day to ask media owners to pay our reporters and correspondents well. Pay them well first and then demand integrity, otherwise we risk making them captives of Government and news sources,” He said.
The World Press Freedom day is celebrated every 3rd of May with the theme of this year’s celebration being ‘Information as a Public good’.
Muturi said a free and independent media, spreading accurate and factual information is the cornerstone of a vibrant democracy and national development.
“We have to find ways to let journalists, editors and media owners understand that their role is so important to a cohesive, united, and prosperous country,” He said.
Broadcasting PS Esther Koimett on the other hand lauded the role played by the media in steering the Country’s political, economic and social development wheel saying the media has the responsibility to inform public opinion and to monitor whether the Government is keeping its promises.
She said, the ICT Ministry is keen on working with the Media Council and other stakeholders in the industry to ensure the regulatory and policy environment is reviewed to reflect the present industry needs.
“The Government is keenly listening to the idea of establishing a media fund that would ensure sustainability in the industry, which is essential for a free and independent media that serves the public interest,” She said.
While tremendous steps have been made in guaranteeing media freedom in Kenya, the Media Council has petitioned Parliament to amend or repeal 20 pieces of legislation some inherited from the colonial Government that continue to undermine press freedom.