Speaker Muturi Urges Media to Embrace Objective and Accurate Coverage of Parliament
The need to balance Public Interest, National interests and Editorial interests, dominated day 1 of the 3rd Annual National Assembly, Engagement forum with Senior Editors.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Justin Muturi, while making his opening remarks, led the clarion call on the media to uphold an objective and factual approach to Parliamentary coverage, in a way that promotes patriotism and nationhood.
Speaker Muturi observed that though these are trying times for the industry, given the competition for shrinking revenues, since the shift from analogue to digital broadcasting, the media profession is a sacred one, and urged the media to remain true to their call.
He gave a commitment that the legislature would jealously guard the rights of the media as guaranteed in the constitution. " While we shall endeavour to guard your rights and development jealously, we submit that you must be patriotic enough to ensure that in the course of agenda setting, you do not end up only chasing headlines, thus allowing scandals and political entertainment to ride over political information and public discussions meant to enhance political discourse" he urged.
On the matter of Public Participation and the implementation of Article 118 to the spirit and the letter of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Members present led by the Speaker asked the media to assist Parliament in developing the framework for effective and meaningful public participation.
On his part, the Leader of the Majority lauded the media for largely staying true to their sacred role of oversighting the arms of government. He further spoke into the import of headlining the Parliamentary Agenda.
Speaking in the same forum, the leader of the Minority Coalition, Hon. John Mbadi echoed the Speaker's sentiments, and further urged the media to strike a balance between public interest, ethics, and editorial interests. He call for a collaborative partnership, but warned the media and parliament to maintain a healthy boundary. “We need to work well together, but we should not be too close", he urged. This position was reiterated upon, by the Royal Media Services Director of Innovation and Strategy.
The forum resolved that there was need to become intentional and strategic, when deploying media personnel from their stations, urging an improvement on stories generated from Parliament's business.
The Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (KEWOPA) Hon. Purity Ngirichi appealed to the Media to offer Women MPs similar opportunities as they do their male counterparts, adding the need for fair coverage for individual Members.
On his part, Independent Editor, and the Editor's Guild Trustee, Mr. Macharia Gaitho called for a dedicated channel for Parliament that runs round the clock. He also challenged Members to embrace positive criticism.
The 2 day engagement forum themed, " The Legislature and the Media: Serving a Nation on the Move", is being held at Serena Hotel, Mombasa, and has been organized by the National Assembly Leadership as part of rallying national efforts towards promoting patriotism, advocating for all persons to embrace and safeguard the interests of the nation, whilst upholding the obligation of the media to inform, education and entertain.