Katiba Institute in partnership with the Media Council of Kenya on 7 June 2022 hosted a one-day Elections Summit in Nairobi with a focus on media and access to information.
In his keynote remarks, H. E Ambassador Gunnar Andreas Holm of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Nairobi lauded the critical role of the media in the electoral process. He observed that the Kenyan media has been steadfast in producing high quality content thus keeping the audience informed.
“The media has a critical role to play in shaping perspective of the elections and to be a moderator of public debate”, said Ambassador Gunnar.
Ambassador Gunnar noted that the Embassy supports the work of Human Rights Defenders, human rights, democracy and good governance as key focus areas in Kenya, and is keen continue with the support.
Katiba Institute Executive Director Christine Nkonge urged the media to ensure the information being passed to the masses is truthful. “The media provides information, gives a platform for candidates to voice their ideas besides being the public watchdog during elections.”
Christine emphasized the need for free flow of information to ensure citizens are active and informed. “Our Constitution is aspirational. It was also meant to be transformative. But for transformation to occur, we need accountable governance, free flow of information , an engaged citizenry and robust media.”
Media Council of Kenya CEO Mr David Omwoyo noted that transparency and accountability of the election process is anchored on access to information.
“We need to give the media tools to isolate the right information from the wrong. We need to build capacity of the media which goes beyond training and remind the media about ethics to ensure the privileges of the consumer are protected”, he said these at today’s session on elections, media and information integrity organised by the Council and Katiba Institute- KI Official
MCK’s Director for Media Training and Development Mr Victor Bwire said the partnership between the two organisations seeks to enhance information sharing, networking, and building capacity to ensure professional reporting that leads to a free, fair, and credible elections.
Access to Information
Christine Kuria, Katiba Institute’s Institutional Manager, presented a keynote paper on civic empowerment and access to information in the electoral process. The paper highlights the critical role of public participation as an expression of people’s sovereignty. It also captures the access to Information law, its applicability and usability as a tool to enhancing accountability and transparency.
Linus Kaikai presented a keynote paper on the role of media in Elections while George Kegoro presented on safety and protection of journalists in the elections period.
by Kevin Mabonga