KEG boss urges transparency in the amendment of media laws

The Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) President, Mr Churchill Otieno, has expressed concern over the opaqueness surrounding the amendment of media laws by MPs.

He said that KEG had not been invited to contribute to the exercise and urged the legislators to ensure that the interests of the media, and the public in general public were safeguarded.

“How do we create an independent legal framework that allows journalism to thrive?” he posed.

Mr Otieno expressed the sentiments during the third KEG Annual Convention that took place in Naivasha from December 2 – 4.

He invited journalists to author their memoirs for publication by KEG, in honour of their distinguished service to the country.

Mr Otieno also urged the media to always strive to gain the trust of the public in their spaces, to ensure, support whenever their issues get into legal debates.

“The Media is only true to itself when it takes public interest at heart. Is it possible that we can discuss issues in closed spaces? No. We need to find space in the platforms to ensure the public is part of the media space,” he said.

The annual convention is the premier editors’ meeting in Kenya. It offers a platform for the media, the government and other stakeholders to discuss issues affecting journalism in Kenya.

Among the current issues are disinformation, ethics, training and the place of legacy media in the face of intense competition from the new platforms that are seen, not only as transformative, but also disruptive of journalistic practices.

Acting IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein said the electoral agency was only responsible for voter education, but not civic education.

“At the moment, there are no candidates until the official nominations are done and candidates cleared,” he said.

Mr Hussein said that IEBC had taken note of the gaps that characterised the previous election, for remedial actions.

“They were addressed through draft amendments, including the Election Act. Issues related to regulation of campaigns were also looked at,” he said.

“The commission is on course towards delivery on mandate. However, this will not be possible without stakeholders’ support. There is a need for concerted effort to ensure media spaces enhance transparency and electoral integrity,” said Mr Hussein.

The Registrar of Political Parties, Ms Anne Nderitu, said the credibility of the parties was being audited ahead of next year’s poll.

“At the top of the list is the question of political parties’ primaries. We are advising the cleaning up of registers by political parties so that those who vote in primaries are members,” she said.

“This list should also be made available to the public online via the e-citizen platform. This time round, we don’t expect them to use the registrar of political parties’ register.”

Ms Nderitu asserted that candidates will have to declare in advance if they want to run under a party or as independents.