2022 polls: Media council gives guidelines on election coverage by journalists
The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has given a directive on the coverage of the 2022 general elections by journalists.
In a statement to newsrooms on Monday, August 9, MCK said that during democratic processes such as elections and referenda, journalists play a critical role in setting the agenda by conducting civic education while providing general information on the governance process, a role that places their lives in danger.
"Kenyan media has played a key role in election coverage since independence through the clamour for multiparty period in the 80s and 90s and the constitution-making processes until its passage in 2010," MCK said.
"However, as the democratic space in Kenya continues expanding, so have challenges been increasing as far as the media's role in election coverage is concerned," MCK said.
The council further stated that the media and journalists as a whole have been under pressure while covering elections and in turn called for the protection of journalists by security personnel.
"There should be a collaboration between the regulator, media owners, newsroom managers, individual journalists and most importantly law enforcement agencies in safeguarding the safety and protection of journalists during elections and general adherence to the rule of law," MCK said.
In its statement, MCK further stated that journalists find it difficult to report the truth especially when they fail to obtain correct information for their stories.
"Such a challenge when allowed to thrive causes a credibility crisis as it affects the professionalism and quality of stories published by the media," MCK said.
In order for journalists to smoothly cover the 2022 polls, MCK said it will put up media centres for journalists in major towns to work from during the electioneering period.
The council further said that media monitoring will be enhanced during the electioneering period to lookout against hate speech, fake news and other negative trends.
MCK also said that it will enter partnerships to offer grants for journalists to write and produce media content related to elections.
"For starters towards initiating the above, the Council has commenced the process of setting up a technical committee to review the election reporting guidelines that were last reviewed in 2017," MCK said.
The council further stated that it will draw its membership from the industry and will also include various groups and media associations adding that the invitations for nominations are ongoing.