In pursuit of its mandate of promoting high professional standards amongst journalists, the Media Council conducts trainings for media practitioners in a number of areas including: the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism, election coverage, the constitution implementation process, conflict sensitive reporting and electoral laws among others. The trainings also aim at promoting ethical standards among journalists.
The trainings are conducted both in-house for different media houses as well as in regions and are structured for various categories of journalists i.e. Editors, Reporters and Correspondents. The Media Council conducts the trainings either on its own or through collaborations with development partners. Notable partners in the trainings have been the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the German international development agency (GIZ).
Training on Elections 2012
As the country prepares for the forthcoming General Election planned for March 2013, there is need for citizens to be informed on electoral processes to enable them participate effectively in the polls. As part of its mandate on training and building capacity for journalists who play a very critical role in educating and informing citizens on matters relating to elections, the Media Council of Kenya is conducting a series of trainings throughout the country, drawn from both mainstream / community/vernacular media houses. The trainings and media literacy forums have been running from May, 2012 and target Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret, Nakuru and Kisumu. Major partners are AMKENI/UNDP, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Wayamo Foundation of Germany, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The trainings are aimed at enhancing journalists’ knowledge and understanding on the electoral process while at the same time being sensitive to issues that could trigger tensions in the country as we prepare for elections and other development agenda.
The focus of the trainings are on the Code of Ethics for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya, Guide on election reporting, the Electoral processes, freedom of expression and hate speech, historical injustices and how the Kenya Constitution 2010 addresses them and safety and protection for journalists.
Communication for Development (C4D) Trainings
The Media Council of Kenya in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducts the Communications for Development Programme. The programme aims at improving the journalists’ professional skills on development reporting. C4D is a social process based on dialogue using a broad range of tools and methods. It aims at achieving social change and behavioural transformation as communication empowers people; it enables dialogue, expression, raises awareness of social and structural problems and promotes self- reflection.
Training on the Constitution
Following the promulgation of the new Constitution in August 2010, the future of journalism profession in Kenya looks bright with all the impediments imposed by the old Constitution out of the way. The challenge now is to find a way forward on how the media can be the channel through which the implementation of the constitution can be fast tracked. This therefore rings to the fore the ability of media practitioners to interpret the constitution to their audiences and the Kenyan public at large.
After the promulgation of the Kenyan Constitution last year, the Media Council of Kenya conducted a training workshop for journalists in Nakuru on how the constitution will enable journalists perform their day -to -day duties. At the Nakuru workshop trainers were able to highlight the opportunities and challenges presented by the new constitution. With the country gearing up for the changes that would come with the new constitution it would be wise if media practitioners were effectively equipped to rightly interpret the constitution and participate positively in the implementation process.
It is with this agenda in mind that the training department of the Media Council is conducting a number of trainings for editors and journalists on the following areas:
- Constitutional overview – highlighting on the controversial issues like devolution and sharing of resources between the National government & Counties government, the new government structure (the executive, legislature & judiciary)
- Constitutional implementation
- ICC reporting and
- Interviewing and journalists adherence to the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism.
These topics have taken into consideration the forthcoming general elections. There is therefore a need for adequate training of journalists to correctly interpret the constitution. This will go a long way in guiding the public and ensuring that the media and the public are not victims of any people misinterpreting the constitution for their own benefit. There are areas that are a priority in constitutional implementation in conjunction with Agenda four. Topics like devolution and equitable sharing of resources between the National government and the County government, separation of powers between the three arms of government i.e. Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, the Bill of rights (with an inclusion of socio-economic rights of Kenyan citizens), and right to recall legislatures among others.
Media monitoring for the month of January 2011 revealed that one of the most misrepresented stories in the media has been on the ICC. There is a need for journalists to go through training on ICC Reporting to enable them to stick to the core issues and give clarity on the processes of ICC Courts, like what happens after the summons? This is important not only to Kenya but for other African countries as Kenya would always be used as an example, therefore accuracy becomes an issue.
Naivasha Editors' Training
As part of its mandate to promote high professional standards amongst journalists, the Media Council of Kenya successfully held an Editors’ workshop at the Lake Naivasha Country Club from the 15th to 18th May, 2011 themed ‘The Role of the Media in Constitutional Implementation.’
The training workshop attracted over thirty editors who were taken through the constitutional implementation process, where we are as a country, the progress and the contributing factors that could derail or accelerate the process.
The training, an activity of the Community for Development (C4D) envisioned to increase capacity and professionalism within the media with a long-term objective of upgrading the skills of media practitioners in Kenya.
With the constitution implementation process underway media practitioners are still required to conduct themselves ethically and with accountability. The editors were taken through investigative skills and how to incorporate the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism as is entrenched in the Media Act 2007.