By Odumbe Kute via FB
To my journalist friends, what say you about the Media Council of Kenya’s threat to criminalize “quack” journalists who aren’t accredited. Not to say that the bill proposed by your Chair David Omwoyo will ever be passed in any Kenyan parliament, our MPs are special I tell you.
but if the estimate that out of the 7,000 journalists in Kenya, 3,500 are dodgy, how are you going to enforce any standards by basing it on accreditation. And I have to ask, what does accreditation involve? I know a lot of journalists who I respect and have a lot of time for. I also know many who are supposedly accredited but still dodgy. Hell, I can investigate and write stories on any subject better than some of your members. Some of my articles have been published, and many others even published wiithout my permission – though in fairness, they were attributed to me. Yet, I confess I’ve never seen the inside of any journalism school, but if I put my mind to it, I could still make a very good living out of it and do a very good job.
While we’re on accreditation, it will be good for you all to say something about how Kenyan journalism ended up in the Githeri media zone. IN print media and TV, the standards seen, the unprofessionalism, the shallow engagement by the supposed luminaries of the media is mind-boggling. Take Larry Madowo for example. How do you get to the stage where instead of facilitating an impartial debate with your guests, you want to fight them and be opinionated? Supposedly, the fella is accredited. And what of some of the TV anchors who don’t even have a clue of the subject matter, enough at least to constructively challenge guests who are talking bullshit and lying to us? When some of these folks are on air, you can’t find a sofa quick enough for you to hide behind in embarrassment.
Personally, I think journalism as a profession should wake up and drag itself into the 21st Century. The doctrine of journalists as the curators of news was totally blown away by citizen journalism fuelled by the internet. It’s the kind of lost cause music recording and production giants started fighting when streaming services like Napster came on board. After all the huffing and puffing, they had to get in line with the internet. Hell, Apple and their iTunes services literally made some of these recording companies obsolete and only those who were prepared to adapt survived, but still operate in the digital world.
It will be great to get your thoughts on this “We’re going to jail unaccredited journalists” thing by MCK. I’m unaccredited. I don’t intend to ever get accredited, and yet you still publish my work. I intend to continue as a “citizen journalist”. One thing is for sure, I ain’t going to jail, hell no!