Kisumu County’s policy that could cure media information gap

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Kisumu County is developing a policy which could cure information gap between the government and the people.

The public communication policy expands the scope of county staffs allowed to address the county government policies to the public.

Journalists have deadlines, and any time we seek this information, it is never easily available

Ochieng Oreyo

According to Chief Officer for Information and Communication John Oywa, the policy whose development is at advanced stages defines those allowed to address media queries.

“We are soon inviting you for the launch of the policy,” Mr Oywa told journalists during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) on May 5.

Mr Oywa was the chief guest during the event convened by the Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) Nyanza Chapter in collaborations with Kisumu Journalists Network (KJN) through the support of Article 19 and Luminate Group.

In the past, the media has raised concerns following long bureaucracies involved in obtaining information for publication in the media.

This, Mr Oywa said, will be sorted by the new policy which clearly specifies county staffs allowed to address the press, and modalities of how to go about it.

Kisumu County Director of Environment and Climate Change Martin Oloo addressing journalists during the commemoration of 2024 WPFD

Freedom of expression

Mr Oywa noted that already the policy proposes that departmental heads, Directors and Chief Officers be given the mandate to address the press.

Previously, Executive Committee Members, County Secretary and the Governor would address the press.

During the WPFD, journalists had expressed concerns on how the county government was stifling freedom of expression through limiting access to information.

The theme of the event was ‘Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the environmental crisis’.

Journalists had pointed out that bureaucracies in obtaining information from the county government was not only stifling their rights to information, but also putting a huddle in highlighting critical issues in the society such as environmental crisis.

“Journalists have deadlines, and any time we seek this information, it is never easily available,” said Ochieng Oreyo, a journalist with Nation Media Group.

His sentiments were echoed by Tvet Star’s Irene Olwande who mentioned that duty bearers need to proactively share information as this is the only way of being accountable to the people.

Kisumu County Chief Officer for Information and Communication John Oywa addressing journalists during the commemoration of 2024 World Press Freedom Day 2024

KCA Nyanza Chapter had collaborated with KJN to host over 50 journalists for a breakfast workshop to deliberate on freedom of expression and safety and security of journalists in the digital spaces in relations to the theme of the day.

In attendance as key speakers were; Kisumu County Director of Environment and Climate Change Martin Oloo, Maseno University’s Head of Media and Communication Department Dr Emukule Emojong, and KJN Chair Doreen Magak.

Mr Oloo noted that Climate Change is a global threat and journalists must play a pivotal role in informing the masses on its impacts and how to slow further worsening of the situation.

“As experts we have this information, but it is your journalists who can package it in a way that can make it easy to be consumed by the public,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Dr Emojong who said universities and research institutions have a lot of information which needed to get to the people.

“Let us fight the mistrust between journalists and scientists so that the information lying in research shelves can get to the people and change their lives,” he said.

Kevine Omollo
Kevine Omollo
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news from Lake Region Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet. Email: komollo@lakeregionbulletin.co.ke omollokevine@gmail.com

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