Media / Watchdog
Wednesday, 12 Oct 2016 15:15 EAT
The Secretary General of the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Erick Oduor visited the Kenya Free Press on Monday to interact with the online newspaper's management, writers and interns and familiarise them on the Union's mandate.
The visit by Mr Oduor, who works for the Nation Media Group, marked the starting point for collaboration between the newspaper and the journalists' union. It was held at the request of the Free Press Publishers Limited, publishers of the Kenya Free Press, who wanted its staff informed about the union's mandate and activities.
The secretary general outlined the roles of the KUJ and he urged the staff to register themselves with the body. He said KUJ is both a trade union and professional body with a mandate of protecting journalists' employment interests and promoting the conditions for a free and responsible media environment.
He said KUJ is affiliated to the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its main mandates are: defending freedom of the press, improving working conditions of journalists, and promoting media freedom and professionalism.
Mr Oduor, who is also the president of the East Africa Journalists Association, a federation of journalists unions from 12 countries in the region, took the staff through the Union's different categories of membership and its work with local and international partners in the advancement of press freedom.
Saying he is a keen reader of the Kenya Free Press, the secretary general encouraged the staff to keep up with the pace they have adopted and praised them for the quality of articles on the website. “I have been following the articles and news you carry and I must commend you for the work you are doing," he said.
Mr Oduor further urged the Kenya Free Press team to keep on writing articles and news without fear of intimidation, saying KUJ had bolstered its efforts in the protection of upcoming media platforms such as online newspapers and blogs. “As a new platform, do not be intimidated by anyone; write without fear or threats and the KUJ will be monitoring your progress,” he said.
The chief executive of the Free Press Publishers, Mr John Onyando, informed the secretary general that the company was formed to fill a gap in news coverage and provide journalism students and recent graduates with a platform at which they can launch their careers.
"I realised the gap in news coverage in the last few years when I was based in the United States. I could see reports and even video clips from important news events on social media but none in the reputable media that researchers, business people and the general public rely on for their information needs," he said.
Mr Onyando said the company was striving to provide a good platform for upcoming journalists to immerse themselves in the industry, adding that the current interns had come from the Technical University of Kenya, Moi University, the University of Nairobi and JKUAT. Professors from the universities assess the performance of the interns as required, he said.
The CEO said that the Kenya Free Press would seek to attain the highest professional standards, and he informed the secretary general that the company had initiated a similar programme with the Media Council of Kenya for the accreditation of its staff members.
He later presented Mr Oduor with a copy of the book 'Indian Dukawallas: Their Contribution to Political and Economic Development of Kenya' authored by renowned lawyer Sharad Rao, which is published by the Free Press Publishers Limited.
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press