A Strong, free and independent media is a boon for any Nation or Society. A key element in contributing and improving the effectiveness of the media in any given country are efforts at enhancing their professionalism in journalism. For independent media to play their role in development, they need to act in a professional and credible way. One of the ways to stimulate this is through collaboration in skills development among the various stakeholders.
AMWIK in partnership with the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), Kenya Editors Guild(KEG) and Kenya Union of Journalists(KUJ), Internews Kenya have been implementing Safeguarding the Democratic Space in Kenya: Enhance professionalism in media in Kenya through legal reforms, media literacy and protection of journalists project geared at enhancing media professionalism in Kenya through legal reforms, media literacy and protection of journalists through the support of USAID and managed by FHi360.
At least 300 journalists and 700 members of the public will benefit from the project that seeks to contribute towards the protection of civic and democratic space in 17 counties spread across Kenya.
The project beneficiaries particularly journalists will gain media literacy skills through town halls forums as the project pushes for media reforms and legal review, safety and protection of journalists as well as continuous documentation of violence against journalists through partnerships, networking and trainings; thereby solidly contributing to the promotion of media freedoms, self-regulation and protection of journalists in Kenya.
One such town hall meeting was held on 29th February 2020 in Voi town and was attended by a total of 26 Participants (14 male and 12 female). 12 of them being journalists while the rest were representatives from the youth, women and people living with disabilities. Among the topics discussed in the forum were Media professionalism, the public’s score of the media in their performance and reportage of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report by the Voi journalists. The meeting noted that there is need for journalists to adhere to professionalism and take up the lead role in educating the public on such issues as the Building Bridges Initiative.
Other cross-cutting issues that emerged in the meeting were journalists’ welfare and poor pay; MCK’s role in safety of journalists and enhancing professionalism, the need for collaborative approaches among CSOs, county government and the media and the inclusion of PWDs, the youth and women in the media should be deliberate.
The town halls are part of the project’s strategies of bringing together journalists, leaders from county administration, religious institutions and of the community as well as the community members to discuss issues that concern them.