ICT CS, Joe Mucheru, promises to steer industry to greater heights
The newly appointed ICT Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru, has promised to work closely with media stakeholders to protect press freedom, promote innovation and use of technology across the industry.
Speaking during a tour of Media Council of Kenya offices on Wednesday, Mr. Mucheru said the media industry has potential to grow if only players remain united and ride on latest innovations.
He urged MCK to use its state of the art media monitoring equipment for profit by releasing intelligence reports that could help advertisers make informed choices.
Accompanied by his principal Secretaries Victor Kyalo (ICT) and Samuel Itemere (Broadcast and Telecommunication), the Cabinet Secretary said a responsible media is key for any democracy and urged all media stakeholders to move with speed and resolve pending conflicts through dialogue.
Referring to the pending court case on two laws, the Media Act 2013 and the Kenya Information and Communications Amendment Act (KICA) 2013, Mr. Mucheru said legal battles will hold back development in the sector.
Kenya Union of Journalists Secretary General, Eric Oduor and Kenya Correspondents Association, Oloo Janak called on Mr. Mucheru to lead in amending the offending media laws as they promised to work towards resolving the pending court battle.
“Technology will not wait for us as we battle in court. We must come up and fight for a vibrant Media Council,” said Dr. Wambui Kiai, Director, School of Journalism, University of Nairobi.
MCK CEO Dr. Haron Mwangi urged the Cabinet Secretary to spearhead dialogue among media stakeholders as he called on all parties embrace negotiations whenever conflicts arise.
Kenya Film Classification Board CEO, Hezekiel Mutua, called on media stakeholders to give the new CS and his team chance to resolve pending issues by pulling out of court and give dialogue a chance.
“The stalemate we have is creating opportunities for others… we must start the work and get out of the issues. We need to lead and win. We need to work smart,” Mucheru told media stakeholders drawn from Media Owners Association, Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Correspondents Association.
“We got a joint job to move and grow Kenya…media is one of the most significant parts in anything we do and we got support from the executive,” he said.
A key contention in the KICA Act is the creation of the Multi Media and Appeals Tribunal, which will be top heavy with government appointees, and which provides for hefty fines of Kenya Shillings 500,000 for any journalist and 20 million for any media outlet deemed to be in violation of the Act.
The Media Act provides for a Complaints Commission within the Media Council of Kenya, which also has sanctions for journalists.
The media stakeholders argue that the provisions in the two Acts which also include penalties