SIAYA, Kenya – In a recent announcement, the Chief Executive Officer of the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), David Omwoyo, has made it clear that practicing journalism without proper accreditation is no longer acceptable. Omwoyo stated that individuals engaged in journalism without proper certification must formalize their credentials, or they risk facing legal consequences, including potential arrest.
Omwoyo emphasized the significance of accreditation for journalists, highlighting that those without it would not only be barred from practicing but would also miss out on various benefits reserved for accredited professionals. Among these benefits are opportunities for training, grants for story writing, and protection of press freedom. The Media Council of Kenya periodically offers these advantages to accredited journalists.
Speaking in Siaya town, David Omwoyo officially launched the Siaya Press Club, an initiative aimed at fostering collaboration among journalists in the region. The event was graced by the presence of Siaya County Governor, James Orengo, and County Commissioner Jim Njoka, who demonstrated their support for this important endeavor.
Omwoyo emphasized the legal requirement for journalists in Kenya to obtain proper accreditation, stating, “It is illegal to purport to practice journalism in Kenya without accreditation.” This requirement, he explained, serves to maintain the integrity of the profession while safeguarding the rights and benefits of journalists.
Furthermore, Omwoyo urged journalists to uphold the core values of accuracy, transparency, truthfulness, and the principle of ‘do no harm’ in their work. These principles are integral to responsible and ethical journalism.
In his address, Omwoyo reiterated the MCK’s unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of journalists. He emphasized that, by doing so, the ultimate beneficiary is the Kenyan citizen, as a free and independent media plays a crucial role in upholding democracy and informing the public.
The CEO took the opportunity to commend Siaya journalists for coming together to form the Siaya Press Club, acknowledging the importance of such initiatives in promoting unity and collaboration among media professionals. He also pledged support for the newly established club in creating an information hub for local journalists.
County Commissioner Jim Njoka expressed his appreciation for the positive working relationship between the local government and the media. He encouraged journalists to use the Siaya Press Club as a platform for constructive criticism of each other, emphasizing the need for balanced and patriotic reporting.
Njoka also called on journalists to highlight the positive contributions of the government and draw attention to areas that require improvement. He noted, “You need to be balanced and patriotic. Flag out positive things that the government is doing and also those that you think the government should pay attention to.”
Governor James Orengo underlined the importance of safeguarding the freedoms enshrined in the Kenyan constitution, particularly those related to the media. He acknowledged that these freedoms were the result of the struggles of the media fraternity and certain individuals who fought to expand the space for freedom of expression and the press.
Orengo pledged to streamline his government’s efforts to make it easier for both journalists and the public to access information. He stressed the government’s commitment to transparency, stating, “As a government entity, we acknowledge that the public has a right to know the state of affairs within the county as giving information will empower the public to make informed decisions.”
The launch of the Siaya Press Club garnered significant attention and support, with notable figures like former government spokesman, Colonel (Retired) Cyrus Oguna, and Kenya National Union of Teachers Siaya branch executive secretary, Alex Dunga, in attendance. Club Chairman Philip Onyango and MCK Director Victor Bwire also joined the event, demonstrating the importance of accreditation and collaboration within the field of journalism.