Media owners to avoid influencing editorial police ahead of polls

Media owners eyeing elective positions will now be required to distance themselves from the day to day operations of their companies to avoid interfering with editorial independence.

This is one of regulations put in place by the Communication Authority of Kenya in the run-up to the General Election, to ensure that journalists are ethical.

The authority’s Director General Francis Wangusi said independent and objective reporting is a requisite for a peaceful elections.

“Media owners and reporters who are vying for elective positions should delink themselves from their media houses three months to an election.

“We do not want a journalist who is vying for a political seat holding a microphone because he is likely to use the platform for campaigns, further polarising the country,” he explained.

Mr Wangusi said the agency envisages a situation where media firms would only disseminate news that nourishes the lives of Kenyans and not fan conflicts.

With regards to the directive, Media Council of Kenya chief executive officer Harun Mwangi, said the organisation had carried out a survey that pointed to interference of media owners in matters elections, for example determining which politicians are invited for interviews.

“We have visited a number of radio stations and discovered instances where the media owners are vying for political seats. They compromise the independence of editors by directing them to invite certain politicians while leaving out others, hence using the platforms to serve their own interests,” he said.

The officials were speaking at a media stakeholders’ meeting in Nairobi concerning the reportage of the August elections, to guarantee the country’s peace.

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