For Immediate Release 18 May 2012
MCK PRESS STATEMENT ON ACCREDITATION OF JOURNALISTS
The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) is an independent national institution established by the Media Act 2007 as the leading institution in the regulation of media and in the conduct and discipline of journalists and the media in Kenya. It is mandated to among other things; promote high professional standards among journalists, register and accredit journalists and media establishments and ensure safety and protection of journalists.
Our attention has been drawn to the requirement by organizers of an event scheduled for this weekend that journalists covering the event need to apply for accreditation. The Media Council of Kenya wishes to state categorically that it finds such conditionality for covering a news event a violation of the fundamental right of journalists to access information as guaranteed in our laws.
The Council is the only body mandated to register all journalists practicing in Kenya in accordance to sections 4(k), 13(2), 19(1) and 36 of the Media Act 2007. This process facilitates the authentication of genuine journalists from the “quacks” and also ensures the protection of the rights and privileges of journalists in the performance of their duties. We therefore wish to clarify that journalists already accredited by the Council and who hold the MCK card need no further clearance to access sources and events in this country.
Further, we want to state that providing lunch or any other form of inducement that may be construed to be designed to influence the work of a journalist is expressly prohibited by the following articles in our Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya (as enshrined in the Second Schedule of the Media Act 2007):
Independence which provides that: “Journalists should defend the independence of all journalists from those seeking influence or control over news content. They should gather and report news without fear or favour, and vigorously resist undue influence from any outside forces, including advertisers, sources, story subjects, powerful individuals and special interest groups. Journalists should resist those who would buy or politically influence content or who would seek to intimidate those who gather and disseminate news”.
Integrity which provides that: “Journalists should not accept gifts, favours or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage as well as engaging in activities that may compromise their integrity or independence”.
For purposes of enforcing its mandate, the Council shall only recognise dully accredited journalists by the Council. We therefore urge government institutions, other organisations, the public and other news sources to only recognise journalists who are identifiable upon production of a press card issued by the Media Council of Kenya. Accreditation of journalists by the Media Council is currently ongoing and information can be obtained from the Council as well as from its website www.medacouncil.or.ke
For further information contact, Haron Mwangi, Executive Director, Media Council of Kenya on +254 20 2737058, +254 202725032, +254727735252