Written by Carolyn Wamalwa
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Media personalities have been urged to strike a professional balance including observing accuracy and fairness especially when reporting about political subjects, for sobriety to be realized as the country approaches the general elections.
This was the key message from various speakers during a two day elections and conflict sensitive reporting training workshop for vernacular and community radio journalists in Nairobi, organized by the media council of Kenya in collaboration with UNDP Amkeni Wakenya.
Priscila Nyokabi from Kituo cha Sheria implored the media to ensure that they broadcast their content especially on elections with focus on the constitution, plan debates around crucial issues, infrastructure and integrity rather than speculate on irrelevant aspects.
The same was communicated by veteran journalist Joe Kadhi who called on journalist to use honest means to obtain news, give fair play to opposing sides including providing more than just one opinion to help overcome bias.
“When a politician makes an accusation or a promise, seek reaction from other candidates and include it in the report to create a balanced story…give reasonable space and airtime to all sides of an issue,” said Kadhi.
He further warned journalists to resist any form of manipulation relating to the electoral process which he explained to among others include accepting gifts, favors and special treatment from the politicians as it would compromise their approach to fair reporting.
Kadhi further challenged journalists to play the watchdog role conclusively and demand reasonable explanation on promises made by all political aspirants.
Among other concerns raised included taking politicians to task to provide a clear direction on how they plan to approach the issue of constitutional interpretation and implementation as a basis for their election into various positions.
The training aims at quipping journalists with adequate knowledge on election coverage and constitution mastery to help tame unprofessionalism which during the 2007 general election was adversely mentioned in various reports to have in a way contributed to the post election violence.
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