Threats deters journalists to release information

The CEO of media council of Kenya Dr. Harun Mwangi explains a point during the training

Threats deters journalists to release information

News gathering and release of information by journalists is largely being hindered by constant threats from hired goons across the political divide, county governments and the provincial administration.

According to the chief executive officer of the media council of Kenya Dr. Harun Mwangi, the information industry is worrying since most journalists are unable to give factual information since they fear for their lives hence can’t report objectively.

A section of journalists keenly listening during the training

Addressing a three-day workshop for journalists held in Kisumu County Dr. Mwangi said that media freedom is no longer a threat to the media industry but journalists are now facing threats from various institutions that they cover in a new trend that is slowly compromising the media industry.

“We have seen an upsurge in the number of cases where journalists are attacked by hired goons either from politicians or the county government that leaves them injured or their equipment damaged and thus greatly interfering  with the kind of information that is being received by the public. “said Mwangi.

Dr. Mwangi further said the move by some journalists to be incorporated into the county governments while at the same time continue working for their respective media houses has also largely contributed to their lack of safety.

Journalists who attended the training on safety standards in Kisumu county

“You are no longer independent; you have compromised your ethical principles by accepting to work as consultants for county governments and at the same time work for your media houses. This has impacted negatively especially when you do not deliver leaving you to operate under threats from the county government or from your own editors.” added Mwangi.

He asked journalists to take the role of ensuring their own safety by avoiding taking sides when on duty and at the same time adhere to the media law ethics.

“As the media council we are prepared to have massive trainings to journalists ahead of the 2017 elections to enlighten them on how to ensure their safety.” said Dr. Mwangi

The three days workshop was facilitated by the Kenya National Commission of UNESCO and the Media Council of Kenya.

It brought together 25 journalists to discuss the United Nation plan of action on safety of journalists as we enter the election period.