Katiba Institute was one of the key partners of the Annual Media Summit and the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) held on 5 May and 6 May 2022 respectively. The events took place to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day, a day marked to remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. This year, the overall celebrations focused on the theme “Journalism Under Digital Siege”.
Speaking during a panel discussion on digital media and elections Katiba Institute Executive Director Christine Nkonge called for a balance between protecting freedoms and their limitations.
“The Constitution protects freedom of expression but also places some limitations on the same. We therefore need to ensure a balance between protecting freedom of expression while also guarding against expression that extends to hate speech, incitement to violence, ethnic incitement “
She noted that although the digital space is relatively free, there have been instances where government regulation has created a chilling effect against legitimate expression. For instance, the arresting of bloggers.
The media summit brought together policymakers, award-winning journalists, media representatives, specialised NGOs, activists, stakeholders in the field of media, Artificial Intelligence and ICTs, and legal experts who discussed possible solutions to current and emerging challenges to press freedom and privacy. The Council took the opportunity to share data with stakeholders on the status of various issues affecting press Freedom.
The climax of the celebrations was the awarding of journalists from Print media, Radio, TV and Digital Media in different categories. Speaking at the ceremony Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu lauded journalists in their work especially in interpreting and circulating audit reports.
“Journalists have made good progress in interpreting audit reports. I urge you to continue disseminating accurate information, to promote accountability in the use of public resources.” she noted.
Access to Information
Katiba Institute has been actively involved in matters concerning freedom of expression and access to information. This has seen the Institute work closely with the Media Council of Kenya including training journalists on the Access to Information Act,2016 and related laws.
Katiba Institute regularly makes use of Article 35 on Access To Information (ATI) to give effect to the constitutional principles of transparency, accountability and freedom of expression. It has been shown that transparency in government activities minimizes incidences of illegalities and corruption and empowers the public to hold their government to account.
By Kevin Mabonga