Nation Media Group Editorial Director, Joseph Odindo during the East African Journalists Convention on May 4, 2012 at the KICC. PHOTO / SALATON NJAU The curtains on Friday fell on a major conference for East African journalists, with calls for members of the fourth estate to be professional in their work.
Saturday, May 05, 2012
The four-day meeting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre brought together journalists from Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and Somalia.
Information Secretary Ezekiel Mutua said the Freedom of Information Bill 2012 that will give the public the right to information held by the government and other public authorities was before Cabinet.
“If enacted, it will be criminal for public servants not to divulge information sought by the public,” he said.
“This is just but one of the ways through which our ministry is aligning the laws under it with Section 34 and 35 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of the press and access to information,” he said.
Other panelists, who included Mediamax group chief executive Paul Wanyaga and Nation Media Group editorial director Joseph Odindo, stressed the need for training.
Mr Wanyaga said as a key institution that set the agenda, journalism needed individuals who were knowledgeable.
He said journalists could not report authoritatively on issues like the environment, law and technology if they were not well trained.
Similar remarks were made by Mr Odindo, who called for a shift in the way journalists carry out their duties.
“It is important for journalists to first fully understand the subject they are covering. This way, they can convey their stories in an authoritative manner while analysing what they are covering,” he said.
He said with the increase in the FM stations, presenters needed to go for journalism training.
“Most of them are just disc spinners with no proper journalism training yet their stations command lots of influence,” he said.