BWIRE: Media capture; internal reflection only way out
2 months ago, 10 Oct 16:50
Outside the global challenges that are currently facing the media, journalists in Kenya are doing well in terms of quality and timely content to the audiences, but more can be done.
The current business operating environment, including demands for accountability, quality content, respect for the rule of law and dwindling revenue streams requires that the media industry re invents news ways of operating; both in terms of new business models and enhanced professionalism and self-regulation.
Tough times require tough measures, and the media industry should be reminded that to survive, they must work on increasing public trust an spur audience confidence, through quality content with focus on public interest issues, which audiences identify with.
And this is achievable because others elsewhere are doing it; just interact with colleagues from countries such as Sweden and Denmark and you see the possibilities.
People in the profession must open up to the reality that media is under capture by dark forces, an internal reflection is urgently needed and there is an opportunity for redemption. But this cannot happen if journalists continue living in denial. The capture is from investors/owners, advertisers (public and private), commercial (dwindling revenue streams) and technological including fake news and influence of citizen information sources and lack of professionalism.
Media in Kenya is not a rogue industry and journalists are guided by a professional code of conduct thus Kenyans should not seem helpless when offended by the media or journalists should feel free to complain about mistreatment of their stories by their editors or sub editors.
The profession has enough mechanisms for self-regulation, both as an industry or at personal level. Indeed, the best mechanism globally to raise complaints against the media, in fact media related breaches are civil in nature are best handled outside the judicial/court system.
Section 23 of the Media Act 2013 establishes the Complaints Commission at the Media Council of Kenya, which is mandated to, amongst other things, regulate the ethical and professional standards of the Mass Media and to arbitrate disputes between (a) Public and the media ( b) Government and media (c) Intramedia disputes.
The Commission bases its decisions on compliance with the code of conduct of practice of journalism in Kenya; contained in the second schedule of the Media Act 2013. The Commission redress decisions are meant to act as deterrence against wanton behaviour by the media. The Commission has listened and made rulings in a number of media related cases that should inspire people to use it in solving media related disputes, and the industry must respect the decisions made as a way of strengthening self- regulation of the industry.
Mr Peter Gachuhi, complained about an article titled “Want Kenya to be landlocked? Just do away with kadhi courts” saying it was “misleading, inaccurate, inflammatory, biased, promotes ethnic animosity and promotes a violent reaction towards those asking for a NO vote at the referendum especially the Christians”. The Commission established that the media had breached of the Media Act that requires the media to inform the public on issues of public ...
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