The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has signed an agreement with the Kenya Editor’s Guild and the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) to address the rising cases of misinformation and disinformation.
The agreement between the three bodies will see journalists feed the public with factual and verifiable information that will be given a green light by the parties in the signed deal.
The Kenya Editor’s Guild President guaranteed that media houses will remain neutral in their reporting, encouraging newsrooms to give balance and fair coverage to all political players.
IEBC chair, Wafula Chebukati, giving the official announcement of the mass voter registration dates, on September 22, 2021.
“The Kenyan news media has no candidate in the elections,” stated Churchill Otieno, the Kenya Editor’s Guild President, highlighting the important role of the media in ensuring factual information.
He, however, noted that no one was opposed to freedom of choices as many media owners may opt to take individual stands during the election, but asked journalists to remain steadfast in defending their credibility.
“There are individuals who own media enterprises, and Kenya being a free market zone where every Kenyan has a right to participate in business, that does not deny them the right to participate in elections as individuals. We cannot begrudge those who choose to take political positions,” he noted.
Otieno encouraged newsrooms that decided to choose political sides to be transparent and make it public.
“Those who make such choices should disclose the same and make it very clear they are taking political sides.”
He further asked individual media houses to respect the doctrine of fairness and neutrality in their coverage, further challenging the digital news media to remain impartial in their delivery of information and coverage of news.
“The professionals who must deal with news every single day be given the chance to do what they must do in terms of managing the news process,” he insisted.
On his part, IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati, noted that the commission will work closely with the media to ensure that fake information is not fed to the public. He further assured the media houses of collaboration with the commission, noting that his commissioners are open for any engagements.
IEBC officials carry out a voter registration exercise in Kwale County in January 2021