By KEVIN M MABONGA
The Media Council of Kenya’s board was inaugurated on 22nd September, 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel Nairobi. This comes after the term of previous board members expired in November 2015. The new board members, appointed by the Cabinet Secretary Information Communications and Technology (ICT) Mr. Joe Mucheru as per the provision of the Media Council Act 2013, will serve for three years. The function was hosted by Media Council with support from the delegation of the European Union to Kenya.
Mr. Mucheru who was the guest of honour, said that the government is fully committed to a free press describing it is as a key tenet in a democracy. He noted that the media remains an important sector in the country. Mucheru said that the Council plays a critical and delicate role in society “… a watchdog role to safeguard the rights and privileges of both the practitioners and the citizens and this puts you in the unenviable position of playing arbiter in often times delicate situations that demand wisdom and tact in order to satisfy competing interests”.
The CS condemned attacks on journalists saying the Government will do everything in its power to ensure perpetrators of crimes against journalists are brought to book. Mr. Mucheru also challenged media houses to check on the welfare of journalists so that they work in an enabling environment. He affirmed the Ministry’s commitment to working with other players.
“My Ministry will closely work with media stakeholders to ensure professionalism is upheld and that the bad elements which are infiltrating the profession are rooted out.” Said the CS.
The Media Council of Kenya chairman Mr. Charles Kerich noted with concern the increasing number of “masqueraders” in the industry. “This is the category of people the Council will root out quickly,” said Mr Kerich. The chairman also pointed out corruption in the media as a thorny issue. He said there was need for media stakeholders to engage on emerging issues in the media including training of journalists and the ethical principles in the practice of journalism. Mr. Kerich assured members of the Fourth Estate that the Council shall continue to fulfill its mandate as a regulator.
Dr. Haron Mwangi, the Media Council CEO thanked Mr. Mucheru and the Ministry of ICT for facilitating the recruitment and appointment of board members terming the move as ‘a new dawn in the media industry”.
He outlined the important role that the Complaints Commission plays in resolving media disputes and requested the CS’ intervention to hasten the process of gazettement of members of the commission.
“We indeed need the Complaints Commission up and running to eliminate this backlog and restore confidence in self-regulation.”Dr. Mwangi noted.
The CEO affirmed the Council’s commitment to promoting professional standards and sanctity in the media industry.
In attendance were media stakeholders including Mr. Linus Kaikai, the Editors Guild Chair, Mr. Oloo Janak, Chair, Kenya Correspondents Association, Erick Odour, The Secretary General, Kenya Union of journalists, Dr. Hanningtone Gaya, the Media Owners Association Chairman, representatives from Association of Media Women in Kenya and the academia. Also present were Ambassadors from the European Union led by Mr. Stefano Dejak.
The members of the board are: Charles Kerich (Chairman), P.D Ogaro Garo, Veronica Akinyi Kuto, Violet Tsisiga Awori, Julius Mwaniki Kinyeki, Ahmed Ibrahim, Annette Nasiaki Okello, Rev.Paul Munyalo inuvu and Elizabeth Limagur.
Click here to read the CS speech
Click here to read the Chairman's speech
Click here to read the CEO's remarks