Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

Odongo Odoyo

On the eve of the World Press Freedom celebrations, news came that sooner than expected the government will screen all journalists operating in the country. This is Michael Makuei Lueth’s message to the scribe countrywide.  For me l would say that the action should have been taken ways back to put the media industry in its right perspective and create more discipline and maintain professional integrity. We have seen and witnessed a number of cases in which some quacks just because they can write in English ending up claiming to be journalists. Some have even gone to an extent of seeking protection from some organizations claiming that their lives were in danger and ended up being given protection and cover in luxurious outfits. With the recent introduction of code of conduct by the Media Authority and now the exercise to screen is being planned, we may end up having to start bringing the necessary discipline and ethics into its right place to protect those qualified to be in the media industry. Not every Tom, Dick and Hurry who have flooded the field with little if any, knowledge of journalism. Something good is bound to happen and sooner than later journalists will have their own respect and maintain integrity. The Media Authority should keep the going tough for those who will be found not to follow the required laws and regulations of the trade. I think screening is very important in this case to find the background and character of a person. Media laws are very clear on the requirements of who should be what and how. One cannot wake up one morning and claim to be an editor of a newspaper. There are processes for one to qualify to hold such positions. Even to be promoted to senior reporter is a process. Penalty should be imposed and applied on those found to be violating or practicing without journalistic background. Other professions are not open as some people would want us to believe that when one is armed with a pen and a notebook or one is equipped with the latest media gadgets, that one is a professional. Most are used by masqueraders who want the world to believe that they are indeed professionals. Mr. Makuei being the Minister whose docket covers the media authority should help make the body vibrant and up to the expectation. No can claim to be a doctor, a lawyer and engineer or any disciplined profession if they are not registered by their own professional body. Some cut across the region to international bodies where they are recognized. Journalists should not be far from other professions. What needed to be done is to follow the professional ethics and to be able to identify professional colleagues by their work without

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