By Raylenne Kambua

The plight of People Living With Disabilities and the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic are among the issues residents of Kibra, Nairobi, want the national media to focus on.

The others are recognition of community health workers and the poor state of local health care facilities.

Radicalisation of youths, drug trafficking and human rights abuses by the police were also in the priority list.

These came out during a meeting between the Kenya Editors’ Guild and residents of one of Nairobi’s biggest informal settlement areas.

People living with disabilities said they appreciate the media for their support. However, they called for easier ways to access the media and that their stories be given more airtime and space.

The residents said human interest stories should be at the centre of the media’s focus because they could help change the situation in the slum. The stories should also put elected leaders, especially politicians, to account.

Bernard Momanyi, a member of KEG and one of the speakers, urged the Kibera community to engage with the media and to share with their stories to push their interests.

Sammy Muraya, another speaker, said the media should embrace frequent interactions with its audience. “Without the people, we have no news. We need you as much as you need us in order to stay relevant.”

The media’s main objectives include information, education and entertainment. This means that creating good harmony between the producer and consumer creates an environment where both parties are satisfied.

Kibera residents were encouraged to take advantage of the interacting platforms created by different media stations. This will enable them to share their thoughts and even to suggest matters that they feel should be addressed by the media. The platforms include social media pages, emails, postal mails and direct phone calls.

The residents said they were suffering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and urged the media to enlighten and inform them about the disease.

Residents were informed about how the media operates.

To understand the question of a newsworthy person, the media focuses on what an individual does and the benefit of the actions to the society. Thus the residents have to engage with the media to be recognised and create news stories.

Community radios were appreciated for their consistency in airing local issue. It was suggested that the stations can form partnerships with the national media to act as channels of information.

Editors told the residents that news stories were not paid for and urged them to report journalists who asked for money in order to publish their stories.

‘’Paying for news and articles is unethical as outlined in the code of conduct that guides the practice of journalism in Kenya. Do not agree to any request for money. And if that happens, let us (editors) know because we cannot take any action if we do not know,” said Zubeida Koome an editor at Standard Group.