Access to information now entrenched in the Kenya constitution 2010 is very vital for the practice of investigative journalism in the country. Its role is very central, especially in the current debates about the content of some broadcast discussions on TV and radio and print publications.
The digital switchover in broadcasting is here with us, as expected by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), whichever way. Without going into the merits and demerits of going digital, which many have said would increase access to information, improve media plurality and strengthen public service broadcasting, how prepared are Kenyans for the new era?
By Haron Mwangi and Victor Bwire
A number of people have advanced several positions on how the media in Kenya covered the period prior, during and immediately after the March 4th general election. There are diverse assertions and feelings in some circle including civil societies and foreign observers that the media failed to provide a genuine platform for debate.
By passing the Kenya Information and Communications Amendment Bill that purports to actualize Article 34(5) of the Constitution, Parliament has sent one major lesion so far: They are averse to criticism and are not interested in enhancing the democratisation process in Kenya. They don’t want the media should play a watchdog role as a Fourth Estate on behalf of the public.
The media scene in Kenya is gradually changing, both in terms of the legal environment and journalistic practice. While a lot of the discussion around the media sector in Kenya currently is on the legal and policy framework, attention has been less on the reviewing structural and administrative environment that affects journalism practice.
Journalists in Kenya, just like anywhere else are feeling the effects of new technology in their work. However, the effects, which are more pronounced, seem to be heading in the direction of new laws and administrative codes aimed at regulating online journalism.