The first cohort of 38 trainers commissioned by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) graduated on Friday after a comprehensive three-day training on elections at the Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications.
The trainers have been accredited by the Council to enable them to undertake countrywide training for journalists and media practitioners on elections coverage.
The Council launched the Training of Trainers (TOT) on Election coverage last Wednesday as part of its contribution to fostering a free, fair, and democratic elections.
This is in line with the Council’s mandate of promoting media professionalism as stipulated under the Media Council Act 2013 section 6(1)(f).
MCK CEO Mr. David Omwoyo said the standardised training seeks to equip journalists and media practitioners with the requisite skills to cover elections in a manner that is comprehensive, accurate, impartial and fair.
He added that the trainers would not merely be training reporters one-off but will undertake continuous mentoring throughout the electioneering period to ensure professionalism.
Mr. Omwoyo said mentorship is particularly key now in the era of social media and growth of FM radios and attendant call-ins which can easily degenerate into hate speech and other offences of the Code of Conduct for the practice of journalism in Kenya.
“The industry is doing a lot now, including planning presidential and lower-level debates to ensure an issue-based election, and this mentorship is particularly key for community media practitioners,” Mr Omwoyo said.
The training is drawn from the Training Manual for Election Coverage which was drafted by a team of experienced journalists, media trainers, and editors led by University of Nairobi journalism lecturer Dr. James Oranga. Other members of the team are Pamela Asigi, Rachel Nakitare, Owino Opondo, Harry Misiko, Tom Japanni, Caleb Atemi, Prof Nancy Booker, Sammy Muraya, Francis Openda and Dorothy Kweyu.
The first of its kind in Kenya, the manual is tailored to ensure professional coverage of elections as outlined in the Media Council of Kenya Guidelines for Election Coverage 2022.
The Council will conduct a series of trainings across the country in the run up to the August 2022 polls.