Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

During one of the workshops organized for Editors by the Media Authority in collaboration with CEPO and UNESCO in which l was listed as one of the speakers, one thing touched and has remained touching deep in my heart. The Guest of Honour Lily Albino Akol, deputy Minister of Information, was so blunt and forthright that she told editors in their faces that they were not doing their jobs as required by the profession. Most of the journalists, she said were not qualified and were not professionals who were depending on shallow news production which did not meet the threshold required in the media industry. There was no need having people called journalists while they could not effectively perform the task required of the fourth estate members. Coming to think of the address, l agree with her that media industry needs a lot of panel beating and exposure to be where it is required to be. Panel beating by having properly trained journalists in recognized media institutions across the globe. They should not be workshop trained and should be properly oriented with the media laws governing the profession. It is unheard of in the media industry that and editor can go to bed and have a sound sleep without knowing what is the lead story in his/her media outlet. The deputy minister seems to be well informed and had what it takes to the tongue-tied editors and media practitioners attending the two days workshop. The remark by the deputy ministers is a wake-up call to media houses and outlets to ensure professionalism. True the industry is young and needs to grow but this cannot be an excuse to practice mediocre in the name of journalism.  Sometime, when found in the heart or the middle of fire being roasted by newsmakers for misreporting or publishing a sub- standard piece, one tend to bring in or have excuses to justify the wrong. Two wrongs cannot make a right. There should be time of accepting the mistake and improve on the same for the growth of the industry. Indeed the industry has come a long way and now there is the media authority which is ready and able to help those who are ready to help themselves with having the knowledge of media laws. This is not a learning institution but a regulating body with mandate to provide and guide the practitioners with proper laws. I would wish to have each journalist or those aspiring to be one to have a solid and proper background of the profession before venturing in the trade to lessen the shame that we face almost every day of having wrong presentation of facts to the public. Code of ethics should guide the way towards success. It is time to turn around the real profession to professionals as the space and steps are increasing in the right direction. It is time to leave behind workshop, armchair and those masqueraders who call themselves journalists.

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