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Impostors still flock events posing as journalists, time to weed them out

By Lucy Mwangi

In the constantly changing realm of media and communication, the significance of professional journalism cannot be emphasised enough. Events, conferences, and gatherings provide a platform for journalists to disseminate information, hold discussions, and amplify voices that shape our society.

However, recent incidents during the 8th Devolution Conference 2023 held from August 15 to 19 in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, raised red flags about the integrity of events coverage. It is essential that events organisers and stakeholders take the mandate of the Media Council of Kenya seriously to ensure the preservation of credible journalism.

During the 8th Devolution Conference, an unsettling number of individuals impersonated journalists, conducting interviews under the guise of media professionals. This deceptive practice not only undermines the sanctity of journalism but also erodes the trust that the public places in media outlets. The theme of the conference, ’10 Years of Devolution: The Present and the Future,’ carries immense significance in shaping the trajectory of our nation. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that accurate and unbiased information reaches the public.

The sub-theme of the conference, “Driving Transformation from the Local Level: County Governments as the Centre of Economic Development,” underscores the pivotal role that county governments play in steering economic progress. Authentic journalism plays a crucial part in fostering transparency, accountability, and informed decision-making at both local and national levels.

Kigotho Mwangi, Director of Communications for Nakuru County Government, reported instances of individuals posing as representatives of well-known media outlets like Standard Media and K24 TV. Such incidents not only deceive the public but also threaten the reputation of respected media houses.

In January, MCK CEO David Omwoyo and Council of Governors ICT and Knowledge Management Committee chairman Governor Wisley Rotich solidified an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding aimed at bolstering professional media coverage of devolved units. This collaborative effort was formalised with a commitment to facilitate a working relationship between the media and county governments for the effective dissemination of information. Through this MoU, effort are being made to enhance county communications and media staff’s capabilities, cultivate better rapport between journalists and county governments, and develop training modules on devolution for the media.

The 8th Devolution Conference served as an opportunity to reflect on a decade of devolution and envision a future of transformation and progress. For such high-profile conferences to yield meaningful outcomes, credible journalism must be at the forefront. By working in tandem with the Media Council of Kenya county governments can support professional journalism to thrive and our society to stay well-informed and empowered.

The writer is research officer at Media Council of Kenya


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