AMWIK Marks World Radio Day 2020 in Meru

To mark the 2020 World Radio day, AMWIK joined partners to celebrate the day in Meru, the county with one of the highest concentration of radio stations in the country. The theme of the year was ‘Celebrating Radio and Diversity

The World Radio Day is an international day celebrated on 13th of February each year having been decided by UNESCO on 3 November 2011 during its 36th conference. AMWIK is a key partner in the radio world, having pioneered and championed the community radio listening groups, in over 28 of the 47 counties in Kenya. The Radio celebrations, Kenya chapter were marked in Meru where the county is considered to have the highest number of radio stations totaling to 15 stations and six TV stations.

Despite the up rise in technology, radio still remains the most powerful tool in informing and educating masses on current affairs. It also remains to be the widest medium of communication as it has the largest geographical reach compared to internet, Television and newspapers

The objectives of the day were to raise awareness among the public and the media on the importance of radio, to encourage decision makers to establish and provide access to information through radio and to enhance networking and international cooperation among broadcasters.

To date, AMWIK has trained over 50 community groups on radio listening sessions in over 27 out of the 47 counties in Kenya, with programmes covering gender and governance, child labor, sexual exploitation and abuse of children, gender based violence, sexual reproductive health and rights, promoting accountability in local authorities, civic education, peace and reconciliation among other themes. This has been found to be a powerful tool for social change and agenda setting.

During the celebration, led by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) in partnership with The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) journalists were challenged to use radio effectively in dissemination of information. The celebration which also acted as a town hall meeting also addressed key issues such as media professionalism and sustainability of the media.

Ms. Pamela Mburia addressing the forum in Meru

Noting that radio is still a leading source of information, former Chairperson of AMWIK Ms. Pamela Mburia urged Meru journalists to be responsible in their reporting adding that the reverse would undermine democracy. Being a radio journalist herself, she urged the journalists to utilize radio to educate the public on societal issues including the most current topic of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

She used the opportunity to speak about AMWIK which also works with both male and female journalists on issues such as child labor, FGM and human rights, in collaboration with organizations such as MCK, Inter-news, Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) and Kenya Union of Journalists(KUJ) to achieve its vision of a gender responsive society.

During the meeting, other issues that emerged include the aspect of disinformation especially in media houses. Christine Nguku, Training Manager at MCK encouraged journalists to always verify their sources especially in the wake of social media platforms being used for misinformation dissemination. The safety of journalists emerged as a cross cutting issue as journalists stated that often they struggle to find the right information which sometimes could cost them their lives. They were however encouraged to adhere to the code of conduct in maintaining professionalism.

AMWIK together with other partners will continue to hold such forums in two other counties as a means to bring to the fore issues of media professionalism and accountability.