Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Bloggers & Online Journalists Training On Elections & Social Responsibility

Photos courtesy

The Media Council of Kenya in Partnership with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) organized a training workshop for journalists and bloggers  working in various media houses and in private in Kenya from 1st – 2nd November 2012 at the Kenya Commercial Bank Leadership Center – Karen, Nairobi.
 The objectives of the workshop were:

  1. To understand the mandate and success of the Media Council of Kenya
  2. To train journalists in understanding freedom of expression versus hate speech and emerging     issues within the media industry,
  3. To raise awareness among journalists on how to verify information provided by online sources
  4. To Support journalists in developing strategies on how to be responsible journalist or bloggers in adherence to the code of conduct,
  5. To understand the challenges and opportunities offered to journalist with new media.
The following media houses were presented:
•              West FM radio
•              Pamoja radio
•              Nation Media Group     
•              KBC radio
•              The Standard Group
•              Internews

This was the first time the Media Council of Kenya was bring on board the bloggers in an attempt of understanding their unique role they play in shaping the agenda and how they can be recognized in the globalized digital age.

Those who facilitated the sessions included: Victor Bwire (Programmes manager –MCK), Mr Cheruiyot (CID), Dr Haron Mwangi ,(CEO Media Council), Tom Rhodes (Committee of Protection of Journalists, EAC representative), Mr Joseph Cheboi (Legal Department NCIC), Prof. Levi Obonyo (Chairman Media Council), Joe Kadhi (Veteran journalist and USIU Lecturer, Churchill Otieno (NMG) and Milly Lwanya (NCIC Commissioner).

The two day event justified that, Global journalism today accesses instantaneous multimedia communication networks, products and services. However, they also remove journalists’ monopoly on international news, forcing a re-evaluation of who creates, transmits and ultimately owns the news.

Jackson Cheboi - It is our collective responsibility to play our part to see tomorrow. Every right you enjoy has a correspondent duty 

New forms of communication are reshaping the practice of a once narrow minded craft serving a local, regional or national public. Today, news media use communication technology to gather text, video and images from around the world, with unprecedented speed and varying degrees of editorial control. The same technology allows news media to disseminate this information to audiences scattered around the globe.  Based on the above, it was emphasized that content, objectivity and journalistic ethics was important in confronting the new challenges facing media organizations.


Objective reports, to be accurate and balanced, must contain all relevant international sources and cross-cultural perspectives. In addition, global journalism asks journalists to be more conscious of how they frame the global public’s perspective on major stories, and how they set the international news agenda. The aim of global journalism should be more than helping the public sphere “go well” at home, as civic journalists say. The aim should be to facilitate rational deliberation in a global public sphere.

Thus, participants were encouraged to champion the interest of the nation through that language with an aim of bringing a variety of languages as an advantage, bringing a whole population on top to equal terms of comprehension by a framing purpose (what exactly do you want to say) and using inclusiveness that does not create or reinforce.

Joe Kadhi - Social media will continue to play a critical role in journalism. Same core principals of journalism should apply to social media journalism


Participants were told to adhere to the code of conduct because their main objective is service to the public, we hold the public trust therefore; have the responsibility guided by standards to perform the objective.

Further, the participants were told to understand the constitution of Kenya 2010 carefully on aspects of the bill of rights for media houses and the NCIC Act because the bill of rights too had limitations.

Robert Niles - The ethics of online journalism are, ultimately, no different than the ethics of journalism

Conflict sensitive reporting:

Capacity building for the participants was made so as to keenly look at conflict as a challenge that needs to be looked at beyond the frame of the picture. This is because the media have capacity to stimulate violence and bring peace at the same time therefore, urged to be compassionate (deal with humans first, journalism second), be interventionist for a good course and be responsible such that speculation is avoided when conflicts arise.

Barbzy - The power of technology can bring the country down.

Above all, we were encouraged to promote common humanity through peace journalism by providing a platform for popular debate on peace, representation of the voiceless, maintain positive relationship of respect and play the role of a reformer with reference to the on -going debate on Truth Justice and Reconciliation, the boundary reforms, the coming elections, and our role in educating the public on the social implications by engaging them so that they start being inquisitive as a way of understanding the issues. awarding me with a certificate after the completion of the training.

Therefore To upgrade social values the journalist should:

I.                     Accept and fulfill certain obligations to society by setting high standards of professionalism. Truth, accuracy and objectivity.
II.                    Avoid disseminating material that might lead to crime, violence, a civil disorder or that may offend minority groups.
III.                  Be pluralistic, reflect the diversity of the culture in which they operate and give access to various points of view and right to reply.
IV.                  Be accountable to society as well as their employers and the market.

Joe Kadhi - Accuracy is achieved by mastering the manipulation of the 5Ws and H.


The workshop proved to be worth emanating from the many issues that were discussed and shared based on the new media opportunities and challenges that if used well can contribute positively to the growth of the journalism field.