In the spirit of community engagement and next generation empowerment, the Kenya Editors Guild took to Kwale County, a town hall meeting and a training of journalists on elections reporting on the 3rd and 5th of July 2021.
In the conversations around governance, democracy and development, the selected residents of Kwale County decried the little or no media coverage and attention given to their activities. Ms Mgeni Nassoro said that farmers in Kwale County have been ignored, unlike those from other regions, despite being good at their work.
Corruption in the media industry has been a constant topic of discussion in town hall meetings, and the Kwale meeting was no exception. The local residents urged journalists to shun the vice as it fuels mistrust between them and the society.
A representative of the people with disabilities stated that they would like the media to intervene for them to be included in the making of important decisions.
Mr Allan Olingo, the Nation Media Group Coast Region manager, reminded the residents that journalists were guided by a code of conduct in executing their duties.
On balanced reporting, Mr Olingo said: “We don’t just cover politicians, we ensure that we cover all stories. Today, I will cover a politician but tomorrow you will find me doing a story on overgrown sugarcane. We try to be diverse, as much as we can.”
Journalists were reminded to be careful and accurate when reporting politics, in a bid to identify the issues that need to be flagged as part of the agenda setting role ahead of the 2022 General Election.
KEG member Bernard Momanyi, trained the journalists on fact-checking and news sourcing. He cautioned them against running fake news.
“As we move towards the election, fact-checking will be key. Know your sources and the ultimate source that declares the winner is the returning officer,” he said.
Coordination between editors and the field journalists was encouraged to avoid distortion of information. Media houses were also urged to protect journalists covering sensitive stories during the electioneering period.