Women Journalists have been challenged to proactively take up opportunities presented by the digital migration process in Kenya; specifically those in media ownership, content development and broadcasting.
In a conference held by AMWIK on 28th and 29th January aimed to strengthen the capacity of women journalists on the process of Digital Migration, media practitioners got a chance to interact with specialists in the field who provided insight on the benefits of the ongoing shift from analog to digital broadcasting. Among the myriad opportunities at hand include research in news, data journalism, videography and audio production.
The conference, dubbed Leveraging on Digital Migration Opportunities for Women Journalists, was a follow-up to a similar conference organized by AMWIK in 2014 to discuss challenges and opportunities of communities in the digital broadcasting migration. This particular forum had identified women as a core marginalized group in the digital migration process.
While speaking at the recent conference, AMWIK’s Programmes Manager Marceline Nyambala expressed the need for including communities which have been locked out of the digital migration process, including women and groups cut out due to poverty and high cost of digital equipment.
Other gaps identified in the migration process include lack of digital channels as well as mechanisms to deal with online harassment of journalists. Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, Chief Executive of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) also pointed out lack of adequate local content.
Despite the apparent challenges, journalists were encouraged to embrace the new technology because of its numerous benefits which include more jobs, flexibility in programming, a wider audience base and better access to the audiences.
Rose Lukalo of the Media Policy Research Centre listed opportunities in digital broadcasting such as photography, independent content production, international correspondence, marketing promotion as well as the development of applications software.
While urging women to learn from their career mistakes, Alison Ngubuini, proprietor of All Is On Productions dared women to also take up these media opportunities.
“Women need to lose mediocrity and take challenges head-on,” she said adding “It is important to have mentors who are above your pay grade and who have progressed more in their careers.”
Participants at the conference made various recommendations, including the need for networking and partnerships among women in the media as well as enactment of a policy that will protect AMWIK journalists against harassment and sidelining. Subsequently, the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) volunteered to work with AMWIK in training female journalists on internet security.
A separate team was created to spearhead the process of content development and will be directed by Christine Nguku, a lecturer at the Kenya Methodist University (KEMU).
The conference brought together TV and Radio producers from both mainstream and community stations across the region.