Training Kenyan journalists on election reporting

Thirty journalists from North-Eastern and Eastern Kenya are being trained on elections reporting in a two-day workshop, which is taking place on 25 and 28 January 2013 in Machakos County, Kenya. The training, being done in co-operation with UNESCO, is addressing issues relating to professionalism and the code of ethics for the practice of journalism in the country.The training in Machakos County is a hands-on practical exercise for journalists on how to deal with hate speech and inflammatory remarks, and also on how to host talk shows in a conflict-sensitive manner during the upcoming election scheduled for 4 March 2013. The workshop aims to equip presenters with the skills necessary to inform and educate the public about hate speech, and to limit the transmission of hate speech without limiting freedom of expression. The training also addresses the issue of how ordinary people across the country can reach politicians and public officials through various platforms such as radio, television, social media and mobile phones in the lead-up to the 2013 elections.

This workshop is a follow up to the capacity-building activity that took place in Nakuru last October. The Nakuru training highlighted a number of issues affecting journalists, such as: non-conformity to the journalistic code of conduct; corruption; lack of guidelines, policy or mechanisms for safety and protection of media professionals; low knowledge of media law; lack of diversity; poor remuneration; and dominance of artists and celebrities in editorial departments, which frustrates trained journalists. The recommendations elaborated as an outcome of this previous training included the organization of frequent capacity-building activities for journalists; provision by the Media Council of Kenya and UNESCO of reading materials on various issues; and the elaboration of standardized training modules.

The UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa cooperates with the Media Council of Kenya to highlight the crucial role of the media in the democratic process of a country.