Media / Watchdog
Thursday, 06 Oct 2016 17:20 EATnorriceazenga@kenyafreepress
The cabinet secretary for Information and Communication Joe Mucheru has today appointed seven members of the Media Council of Kenya Complaints Commission. The commission will be chaired by lawyer Timothy Mwangi Kariuki.
Its other six members include veteran journalist Wangethi Mwangi, who served for decades with the Nation Media Group until he retired eight years ago. Journalists Henry Omusundi Maina, Gladys Kwamboka Oyaro and Philip Mbaji Kaulu were also appointed, along with Esther Jowi Anyango and Abdi Mohamud Hassan.
Mr Maina is the East Africa director of Article 19, a British media rights NGO while Ms Kwamboka is a long serving journalist whose last work as features editor of the Standard newspapers. She is currently serving as the programmes secretary in the Kenya Union of Journalists, in charge of, among other things, the Union's website, Press Times. Mr Kaulu is a reporter with the Star newspaper based in Mombasa.
The appointees are to serve in the commission under the section 27 (4) of the Media Act 2013. The Council’s core function is to facilitate mediation and or conciliation of disputes between the Government and the media, the public and the media and intra-media.
The services of the Commission are free and independent of the Media and Government. In general, complaints must constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya (Second Schedule, The Media Act).
Many journalists welcomed the appointments which raised their representation in accordance with the revised Media Act. Writing of Kwamboka's appointment, journalist Ally A. Jamah wrote: "Most people are not aware about the commission and its work. I hope Kwamboka's tenure will see enhanced public awareness about the body and subsequent filing of complaints."
In respect of Mr Maina, Masese Kemunche wrote, “I see a great man topping the list. Looks like the burden is beginning to lessen." The burden was a reference to heavy handed approach the Jubilee government had adopted in its dealings with the media.
The writer is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press.