NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – The World Association of Press Councils (WAPC) has welcomed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s commitment to prioritise media freedom and fast tracking of four media bills.
Speaking to the press during a meeting in Nairobi, WAPC Executive Secretary Kajubi Mukajanga said that the remarks were very refreshing, pointing out that it’s very important for the information agenda to be set by locals of a country.
“The president’s commitment was very encouraging especially when he cited that the role of the media is in protecting public interest and I hope other heads of state from the region can learn from that,” Mukajanga noted.
Opening a conference a day before World Press Freedom Day, Kenyatta pledged to uphold and enhance the freedom of the media.
Kenyatta however urged the press to be professional and practice responsible journalism.
“My government seeks to entrench and expand media freedom, and the independence of the press must come hand in hand with a deep sense of responsibility,” said Kenyatta.
The media related Bills include the Media Bill, Data Protection Bill, Access to Information Bill and Communications Commission of Kenya Bill as provided for by the Kenya Constitution 2010 Articles 33 to 35.
The executive committee of WAPC has been in Kenya for four days to attend a regional journalists’ convention.
The committee that meets once a year is re-birthing the WAPC to make more effective and stronger.
“We are trying to find ways of rebuilding WAPC… we are looking into sustainability, fundraising and the constitution of the association as a whole,” Mukajanga added.
He however pointed out that one of the main challenges they face is sustaining the little gains that the association makes.
“Press freedom is not a target but rather a process, the job is never done, you will always have to safeguard the gains achieved because they can be taken away very easy.” Mukajanga expressed.