The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has finally suspended the accreditation of the three Siaya journalists involved in a scuffle that led to the injury of one of them last week.
The decision has been reached following arbitration hearings conducted by the Council Chief Executive Officer and Secretary to the Council Mr David Omwoyo at the Council offices in Kisumu on Thursday, January 25, 2024.
MCK Chief Executive Officer, David Omwoyo. Photo: NMG
During the melee, Siaya Correspondent for The Star Mr. Joshua Odanga sustained injuries inflicted by a television camera to the head. The blow was allegedly administered by seasoned Siaya reporter for K24 Television Mary Gorrety Juma. Another seasoned reporter for vernacular radio station Ramogi FM George Amollo is said to have been at the centre of the initial altercations.
According to a statement released by the Media Council early Thursday evening, the attacked journalist was being barred from covering a bursary disbursement event conducted by Gem Constituency Member of Parliament Elisha Odhiambo.
The misunderstanding appears to have arisen out of Joshua Odanga attending the media invite against the expectations of the others thereby inflating the number of reporters and inversely affecting the volume of handouts.
A common myth among accredited media practitioners is that no incentives are offered for providing coverage. The myth has gone burst and the populace now knows why Journalists jostle for the opportunity to cover certain events including those held at the State House and within the homes of Governors.
In the press release, Mr Omwoyo has quoted Articles 4 and 5 on Integrity and Accountability, respectively which require journalists to “desist from soliciting or accepting gifts, favours or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage “.
This is akin to muzzling a horse on the threshing floor. As we pointed out it’s a myth and a bubble that goes burst whenever covering politicians [and particularly during the height of campaigns].
Nonetheless, to sustain a healthy and dignified environment for practising Journalists, professional ethics must be upheld.
MCK is charged with nurturing professionalism and upholding work ethics among journalists in Kenya. Photo: MCK
Everywhere around the world, the Fourth Estate has retained credibility (regardless of what happens behind the scenes) and while the verdict of the MCK might appear harsh, it will certainly serve as a wake-up call to other media practitioners, going forward, to exercise probity and caution.
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