, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) on Wednesday called on media houses to let go of journalists and media practitioners who have declared affiliation to political parties or indicated their intentions to vie for elective positions in 2017.
In a press briefing at the MCK’s headquarters, the councils chairman Charles Kerich said this went contrarily to the Code of Ethics for the practice of journalism which is clear on this and related conflict of interest matters.
Kerich stated that the Council will withdraw the accreditation of journalists who want to work for political parties.
The withdrawal will mean that they will not be authorized to work as media practitioners in the country.
“We’ve all campaigns posters circulating with some of your colleagues declaring to be running for specific seats in specific parties,” he said.
“This is why we are saying that it might be difficult for them to continue operating in a news room and continue to be perceived as being impartial,” Kerich noted.
Kerich also warned media practitioners from affiliating with political parties saying that they must be perceived to be neutral.
On matters touching on the security of media practitioners while in the line of duty, the Media Council of Kenya stated that they will be working with relevant offices including the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), National Police Service Commission (NPSC) among others to ensure that the perpetrators of the crimes are dealt with.
“While not strictly confined to political coverage, we are concerned about the increasing incidents of journalists being physically attacked and their equipment destroyed,” stated Kerich.
“We call for an end to threats, intimidation and attacks on journalists,” he said.
The Council’s CEO Haron Mwangi who affirmed Kerich’s sentiments highlighted that so far 28 cases have been reported to the council adding that the investigations into the cases are ongoing to avert attacks on reporters especially now that the country is gearing up for elections.
The councils also called upon media houses to develop and implement social media policies stating that they will work closely with media houses that are yet to put in place such, to develop social media policies.
“Journalists too have rights to be active on social media and by extension enjoy freedom of expression, but they should draw the line between personal opinion in private space walls, and views that suggest that journalist is biased,” Kerich stated.