STATEMENT ON RESTRICTIONS ON MEDIA OPERATIONS

KENYA MEDIA SECTOR WORKING GROUP

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Media industry has taken note of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) statement issued on October 7, 2020, and the ratification of the same following a Cabinet meeting of October 8. The statement was issued in regard to increasing political activities that the government says are becoming a threat to law and order.

 

Our particular interest and concern is in regard to constraints on media reporting of political events. We find this retrogressive and unnecessary interference in the work of the media and access to information by Kenyans.

We are conscious of the threat posed by reckless political activities and utterances and have enough internal mechanisms to deal with this.

 

We recognize and are appraised that heightened political activity is showing evidence of inflammatory utterances that can serve to ignite tension and hatred in the country. There have also been recent incidents of political violence that have regrettably led to loss of life.

 

We acknowledge that irresponsible media reporting in this environment can sometimes have the effect of fueling the tensions.

 

That is why we have been at the forefront in encouraging responsible and professional journalism, which has included regular peer review engagements, media information literacy, training programmes on conflict-sensitive reporting, hate speech, election reporting and coverage of communal, ethnic and political strife.

 

These efforts by media stakeholders, are well documented, and played an integral part in evolution of the media co-regulatory framework established by law under the Media Council of Kenya Act. The media in Kenya has proved itself one of the most professional, independent and responsible in Africa.

 

We are therefore surprised that the National Security Advisory Committee and the Cabinet are proposing curbs on media reporting of political activity without reference to the independent media regulatory body recognized and established by Article 34 of the Constitution, The Media Council Act 2013 and the Kenya Information Communications Act (KICA).

 

This indicates a dangerous trend where security agencies may assume powers that amount to curbs on media freedom.

 

It learnt lessons from the 2007-2008 post-election conflict that went a long way towards various guides on reporting violence and politics, all of which is captured by Code of Ethics for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya under the Media Council Act.

 

Any breaches of the ethical guidelines in reporting under the current political environment are best addressed under the established mechanisms, including the Media Complaints Commission rather than by giving security agencies unchecked powers to control the media.

 

We would also caution against any curbs that threaten editorial independence and prerogatives, or any attempts to silence discordant voices that may seem to find expression through the media.

 

The leadership of the media industry therefore urges that the National Security Advisory Committee statement and the Multi-Agency Team on Public Order terms of reference be reviewed to remove any that pose threats to media freedom as outlined in Section 6 of the Media Council Act, and the general freedom of speech, expression and communications enjoyed by all

 

citizens. Such orders if implemented will greatly erode the gains made in strengthening a free and responsible media industry in the country.

 

 

 

SIGNED FOR AND ON BEHALF OF KENYA MEDIA SECTOR WORKING GROUP

 

NAME                                                    ORGANISATION                                SIGN                                      

 

DAVID OMWOYO                                     MCK

 

ERICK ODUOR                                          KUJ

 

CHURCHILL OTIENO                             KEG

 

MARCELINE NYAMBALA                     AMWIK

 

WILLIAM JANAK                                    KCA

DINAH KITUYI                                      IREX

JOEL KARANJA                                     DBA

 

MOSES NJAGI                                        KPJA

 

JERRY RAWLINGS                               PJAK

 

TOM MBOYA                                          KCOMNET

 

ROSELYNE OBALA                               ADJ

 

ROBERT WANJALA                             ARTICLE 19 EASTERN AFRICA

National Dialogue on Women’s Economic Empowerment

The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) in collaboration with The Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative (EASSI) and the Urgent Action Fund (UAF) are pleased to invite you to a National Conversation on the “Impact of COVID-19 on Women’s economic empowerment in Kenya

The conference scheduled on Thursday, 17 September 2020 on Zoom will provide a platform for discussion of how COVID-19 has affected women in different areas of the economies including agriculture, trade and MSMEs, hospitality and travel, labour and unemployment, FDIs and development financing. The discussions will also generate recommendations for gender sensitive economic recovery policy programs that will sustain the gains made in advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

If interested, please find the full Concept note of the conference here. Please send an email to info@amwik.org by Wednesday, 16th September 2020 to book your slot for this conference.

ICT Audit Call for Consultancy

AMWIK seeks the services of a qualified information technology(IT) firm/consultant to audit its ICT system.

This includes an overview of the office computing facilities, computer hardware and software, printers, fax machines, photocopiers, mobile phones, e-mail, modems, internet and intranet collectively (Information Technology).

For more details about the call, please click here.

TOR- Social Media

AMWIK in partnership with The Urgent Action Fund, Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women and a consortium including Tanzania Media Women Association, IIDA Women’s Development Organisation, and Friends of Lake Turkana is currently implementing an advocacy project documenting the impact of Covid 19 on small and medium scale women traders in Eastern Africa with a view to build evidence to be used in supporting recovery efforts . AMWIK is focusing in Kenya and also telling stories on the Social Impact of COVID19.

The organization seeks to hire a short term Social Media Consultant (2 months) to work closely with the staff in realizing its objectives. Please click here for more Information.

Development of A Resource Mobilization Strategy

AMWIK seeks a qualified consultant to develop a Resource Mobilization strategy with a proposed results-oriented action plan that takes into account the changing donor landscape as well as assess lessons learnt from past and current resource mobilization efforts.

To find out more about the requirements, please click here for the full Terms of Reference. The deadline for application is 5th September 2020.

AMWIK, A KEY STAKEHOLDER IN ENHANCING MEDIA PROFESSIONALISM IN KENYA

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.

One of the Voi journalists expressing a point during the town hall meeting

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.

Journalists during the Voi town hall forum

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.

A CSO representative giving a candid reflection of the Voi media’s performance in informing the society

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.

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.