Gov’t plans to screen Journalists

By Nema Juma

As we celebrate the world press freedom day today the government through the Ministry of Information and Telecommunication is planning to screen journalists to find who is qualifiedto avoid the mistakes committed.

The government is also planning to establish an institute or a media house that will train journalistsbecause it’s not that anyone who reads and writes a column or news articles is a journalist.

This came after some media outlets stated that the Information Minister was suffering from heart failure and he has been vacated to Nairobi for treatment.

In an exclusive interview with Juba Monitor during the preparation for the World Press Freedom Day under the Theme: Information as a public Good, the Minister of Information  Telecommunication and Postal Service, MichealMakueiLuethsaid most of those who claim to be journalists are not journalists and they have no documents in Journalism, they don’t even know what are the Ethics of the Profession that they want to join.

“Even if I am a graduate it doesn’t mean that I am a journalist but I must be a graduate of journalismat least with a diploma in journalism to qualify me as a journalist, the fact that I am a writer and I have a column in the newspaper does not qualify me to be a journalist,” he added.

He urged the media houses to use disclaimer on those column that “what is written here is not in the position of the newspaper but the position of the author and in so doing the media house of the newspaper will be free and whatever that comes later will be the responsibility of that person,” he said.

Makuei narrated that recently he was interviewed by one of the media houses in Juba about the allegation that he was sick with heart problem and was vacated to the Nairobi for treatment. He said one of the radios in one of the states misquoted him and reported that Makuei refused to go for treatment “instead of refuted they read it to be refused and they announced it to the radio and it became a big problem,” he added.

“So we may be forced to screen them and find out who is a real journalist because some of the journalists who are now operating don’t have even licence, they are not members of the journalists organisation, nevertheless they claim to be journalists, so when we crack on them and check their documents this is the time when we will be in position to know who is a journalist and who is not,” Makuei revealed.

He stated that no journalist has been taken to court adding that the day will come when they will be taken to court.

“Instead of just calling them and warning them we may have to take action against some of the journalists, my message to the journalists at this phase is that you need to abide by professionalism, respect the rule and ethics of your profession,” he lamented.

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