Discussions between the Media Council of Kenya(MCK) and the Council of Governors are underway to develop stringent measures to ensure that only accredited journalists can cover government functions.
North, Eastern, and Central MCK Regional Coordinator Jackson Karanja says the proposed sweeping changes may finally address the menace posed by quacks who infiltrate important public functions and even misreport facts; journalists will now have their accreditation cards scanned at a common desk before they can cover any such functions.
Karanja says unlike previous accreditation cards that lacked tamper-proof security features; the Council is now issuing cards with special bar codes embossed with an individual’s vital details and a unique number.
Further, he noted that the previous accreditation cards did not have a QR (Quick Response) code, enabling anyone to create fake ones.
“So what we are doing as an institution to mitigate this challenge is to have journalists with this card (with a QR code) access County Government and County Assembly functions. We are doing something that is ongoing, and we want to start at the very basic level.”
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During a courtesy call at the Nyeri County Information Offices, he said only journalists with an accreditation card that can be scanned and shows a journalist belongs to a recognised media house will be allowed access to government information.
The Official further said the Council had also received complaints of rogue journalists storming public functions while under the influence of alcohol and conducting themselves in an unbecoming manner before the full glare of cameras, but added that they are in the process of conducting training for media practitioners on the need to uphold the tenets and ethics of their professionalism as espoused in the Code of Conduct.
“We are telling accredited journalists to be professionals and conduct themselves with decorum. Be different from quacks who masquerade as journalists. Cases of journalists coming to functions drunk portray a bad image for the profession,” he added.
The Official similarly said the Council was also partnering with the Communication Authority (CA) in a bid to inject professional reporting standards by media houses and ensure those responsible for managing such entities are people who have undergone proper training in reporting matters.