NAIROBI, October 23 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has reminded journalists in the country to adhere to their professional ethics by upholding objectivity and report events responsibly.
Noting that the media has immense influence in the society, Mr Musyoka said it is prudent for the members of the Fourth Estate to exercise professionalism and social responsibility as they shape agenda for the society.
He challenged journalists to form a professional body modelled on the existing ones to help regulate their practice and instil discipline among its membership.
“I’m persuaded that there is need for a truly professional body for journalists modelled along other professional bodies that regulate the practice of law, medicine, architects and accountants among others. It is a fact that professionalism moderates power, inculcates self-restraints, imposes a sense of professional ethics, standards and best practices. Professionalism rewards merit and penalizes misconduct; this is the way forward,” he said.
The Vice President was speaking on Wednesday night during the Kenya Journalists Association (KEJA) cocktail held at the Laico Regency, where he was the Chief Guest.
The meeting brought together representatives of media houses in the country to evaluate the role of the media during the events that followed last year’s general elections.
The Vice President stressed the need for professionalism in the media in handling potentially divisive political events such as the ones witnessed in the period preceding the last general elections and there after.
Mr Musyoka regretted that some of the media practitioners lost detachment with their profession and engaged in partisan coverage, hate speech and entered the language of journalism in unprecedented manner.
“The FM radio sector, particularly those broadcasting in local dialect according to the Waki and Kriegler reports betrayed their calling and transmitted messages that amounted to incitement and war mongering,” he added.
The Vice President called on journalists to push for the enactment of a self-regulating professional journalists association and to consider entry level criteria to weed out quacks posing as journalists while putting the profession into disrepute.
Mr Musyoka assured that there is good political will to create the right legislative environment for the media to operate as professional, citing the intended tabling of Information Bill and ICT Bill in Parliament soon.
He urged the media practitioners to protect the society from harmful communication including hate speech, violence, immoral activities and abuse of children.
The Vice President said the media has great potential of setting agenda for positive action such as national stability, integration and harmonious co-existence among people of different backgrounds.
The Director of Information Ezekiel Mutua appealed to journalists to put the interests of the country first, adding that the government was ready to work with them.