Kenyan Journalists implored to come up with new approaches of covering elections
Written by Edwin Namasaka
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PRACTISING journalists from different media houses countrywide have been challenged not concentrate on political personalities a head of the next general elections slated for March next year by exercising core values of journalism.
Addressing journalists during a one week training workshop in Nakuru, Professor Joe Kadhi a veteran journalist, media trainer in United states International University and Nairobi University said time has come for the media to have a new approach on election’s coverage by focusing on issue based politicians who are out to set the agenda for the nation.
“We must agree that most members of the Fourth Estate have failed when it comes to reporting objectively on matters of better leadership and checking the different manifestos like the issue of nominations which starts from the parties, unemployment and also education,” explained Kadhi.
The former editor with one of the main stream media in the country said it was high time for the journalists to embrace a professional balance and avoid what he termed as hot air without all sides being heard or also giving sound evidence where required.
He added that the media has the obligation to serve the people and society they report to hence also protecting the source of information without attribution.
Prof Kadhi further said that all claims must be tasted against evidence by describing everything accurately in a story and this being key to getting the balance of truth.
On the issue of reporting on opinion polls, journalists were asked to inquire more on who commissions and carries out the polls, how many people were interviewed, when were they carried out, the margin of error, exact wording of the questions, phrasing and financier of the polls.
The Media Council of Kenya Executive Director Dr. Haron Mwangi who graced the training said they are working together with relevant stakeholders with the aim of introducing mandatory curriculum for institutions training journalists countrywide and thus injecting professionalism and sanity in the industry.
“We as a council have been receiving many complaints from various aggrieved parties who claim that there is unprofessionalism in the media and it being perpetuated by those who are untrained from recognized institutions and also the alarming increase in number of quacks”, he lamented.
He said that they have started working hand in hand with the media owners with the aim of helping trained journalists provide comprehensive, accurate, impartial, balanced and fair coverage of elections.
Dr. Mwangi added that the media council wants to ensure media houses rectify negative trends in order to contribute to free, fair and democratic electoral process which enables citizens to make informed choices.
The training brought together editors and reporters from vernacular radio stations from Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza provinces.