By Raylenne Kambua
A section of Nairobi City County residents have appealed to the mainstream media to focus more on positive, human interest stories and other pertinent issues affecting them.
The residents of Majengo lamented that the media mostly focused on violence and other negative stories about their area.
During the town hall meeting held by KEG on August 21, 2021, Mr Jeremiah Juma, a representative from the religious community, pointed out that though the youth in the area have been indulging in activities that positively impact the society, they got almost no recognition and coverage in the media.
“Our youths are doing so many good things that deserve recognition, but we hardly see their stories being aired,” he said, adding that the media mostly focused on radicalisation and other negative stories about the youth in the area.
The Kamukunji constituency residents praised social media for the attention and space they accorded their issues.
KEG member Hassan Kulundu acknowledged that marginalisation and biased reportage had featured in several similar town hall meetings. He mentioned that such engagements were meant to find solutions to the concerns.
“What is coming out is that there are a lot of stories that are important to people but that we have missed to cover. We have also covered certain areas and stories from predetermined biases, probably because of the history of the place,” he said.
Another KEG member, Mr Joe Mbuthia, explained to the residents some of the media dynamics, highlighting the issue of bias and what constituted a news worthy story.
Mr Mbuthia took the audience through some of the processes and consultations editors observed before selecting any news.
Ms Mary Mwendwa, another KEG member, sensitised and encouraged women to actively show up as news sources. She explained that KEG advocates gender sensitive reporting, hence the need to remind women of their valued contribution on matters under coverage.
The residents were also urged to be aware of their rights when approached by a journalist. The media is guided by a code of conduct, which dictates its operations and how to relate with news sources.
Parents were asked to protect their children and consent before allowing journalists to engage with them.
Mr Aby Agina urged the residents not to shun sharing with the media their positive stories. The KEG member pleaded with the residents to share their business and other life changing stories with the media to inspire others.
KEG has been holding the town hall forums across the country under the theme: “Taking the media to the people.” The initiative has greatly helped to bridge the gaps between the media and society, while also creating a platform for learning for both parties.