29.10.2012 - Communication & Information Sector

Kenyan journalists get comprehensive training

The Media Council of Kenya in cooperation with UNESCO, BBC Media Action and the Canada High Commission conducted a two-day training workshop for journalists drawn from mainstream and community media on media ethics, election reporting and audience-led reporting in Nakuru (Kenya) on 22 and 23 October 2012.

Some Kenyan media played an ambivalent role during the election campaigns in 2007 and the following post-election violence. On the one hand, they supported voter education and scrutinized the actions of politicians and election committee officials to ensure free and fair elections. But on the other hand, some provided a platform for misinformation and inflammatory propaganda. A current study of the performance of vernacular radio stations carried out by the Media Council of Kenya points to the importance of well-trained radio journalists and presenters in a run-up to the elections in 2013 in Kenya.

The two-day training workshop provided general information on journalists’ ethics and responsibilities. It introduced the Council’s Code of Conduct as well as its updated election coverage guidelines. The training programme also included a course on safety and protection of journalists, which UNESCO sees as essential to preserve the fundamental right to freedom of expression.  BBC Media Action introduced participants to an audience-led approach to programme making. This session used clips from the recently launched Sema Kenya, which broadcasts on KTN every Sunday at 6 p.m. and BBC Swahili at 1 p.m., to provide a lively and practical example of audience-led programming in action. 

Elections are the cornerstone of any democracy, and the media has a vital role to play during Kenya’s forthcoming election period. The training in Nakuru built the capacity of media professionals to enable them to apply the highest ethical and professional standards, particularly in the application of best practices with regard to reporting on elections.

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