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Speaker urges media to issue factual information on legislative work

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi

The media has been challenged to be factual and professional in their line of duty especially when covering legislative work.

Speaking during a sensitization forum between the Senate and Kenya Parliamentary Journalists Association (KPJA) at Serena hotel in Mombasa, Senate Speaker Amason Kingi said that media plays a crucial role in disseminating information to the public about the legislative function thus the need to ensure the content shared is truthful and sensible.

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Kingi said the house respects the freedom of the media as listed in Article 34 of the Kenyan Constitution noting that they have made the Senate accessible for journalists to cover its daily activities.

He said the symbiotic relationship between the Senate and the media is a true reflection of how the two are ready to work to empower the public with information and updates of the leaders they elected to represent them.

“Factual and balanced news is informative to the public and it will ensure accountability and transparency in the legislative process,” he said.

He added that in order to effectively deliver on its mandate, the Senate relies on partnerships and one that has stood out is the media who were represented by KPJA.

Kingi said the media has served as a vital pipeline of feedback from the grassroots on how devolution is boarded in line with Chapter 11 of the Constitution.

He said both senators and the media have been able to keep their fingers on the pulse of existing and emerging political and social dynamics in the county.

“Article 34, 35 and 108 of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of the media, right to information and public participation, respectively,” said Kingi adding that through their work, media enforces public opinion and firm decision making besides serving as a point of reference and scanning societal institutional environment.

“The public are always on the lookout and tend to ask questions like what does the media have to say on a certain issue? How come we have not seen this in the media which tells us the credibility of the press still exists/,” he said.

The Speaker further assured the KPJA team of the Senate’s support to enable them to effectively deliver their duties.

Kilifi County Senator Stewart Madzayo reiterated the Speaker’s comments by asking journalists to report what the elected Members of Parliament were doing in terms of representation and oversight roles.

“The house is now undermined as there is no freedom for some members to oversee the executive. It is now upon the media to bring this to light and inform the public on the role their leaders are playing in parliament,” he said.

KPJA Chairman Dancan Khaemba acknowledged Parliament’s effort in facilitating their work.

Khaemba urged journalists to ensure they adhere to the code of conduct while covering news stories and called for continued cooperation between journalists and the Parliament saying teamwork was needed to ensure the public is well served.

“For us to operate optimally, we have to clear some obstacles. Accessibility is a challenge as there are some instances where protocols do not go hand in hand with deadlines for journalists,” he said.

The Kenya Parliamentary Journalist Association was established in the 9th Parliament. Its role is to boost media effort in dissemination of factual news through specialised reporting on parliament affairs.

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