The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has asked journalists seeking political offices in the forthcoming general election to quit the newsrooms.
In a press statement dated February 3, the council sited provisions under the Media Council Act 2013, which authorizes the council to establish media standards including regulation and monitoring of compliance with the media standards.
The statement read in part: “The council advises that any person subject to the Media Council Act who becomes a political candidate or intends to be employed or campaign for a particular political party must step aside from journalistic practice.”
According to the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya, media practitioners are to discharge their journalistic duties with utmost professionalism, independence, integrity and accountability.
Scooped from section Six of the Media Council Act, 2013, clauses 3, 4, and 5 speak to conflict of interest, which in the case of a journalist or media practitioner seeking political office before stepping down from their journalistic duties, will present as a contravention of the law.
The statement further read: “The MCK has noted with concern possible violation of the Act.”
According to David Omwoyo, the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary to the council, appropriate enforcement action will be taken by the council against journalists and media practitioners found in contravention of this section of the law.
Media enterprises were also warned, in the same statement, against using their media platforms for political gain even as the country gears up for a general election in August 9.
The council established by the Media Council Act 2013, is an independent national institution that sets media standards and ensures compliance as set out in Article 34(5) of the Kenyan constitution.