Media council of Kenya has sent a strong warning to imposter journalists that they would face arrest and prosecution.

The warning was made to those who pose as journalists without proper accreditation from the council, that once they are caught they will face trial.

Media Council Executive Director Dr Harun Mwangi said impersonation was a criminal offence and challenged all event organizers to demand that journalists produce accreditation badges issued by the council annually.

“We know that there are those people out there imposing as journalists. Impersonation is a criminal offence and we must deal with the issue,” said Mwangi.

Speaking during a media breakfast meeting in honour of African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Dr Erastus Mwencha, the Media Council Boss reiterated their commitment to get rid of the quacks in the industry and professionalize the trade.

Mwangi appealed to all the media houses to supply the council with the names and letters of the journalists in the field or those contracted to engage in journalism.

He also advised the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and constitutional offices like Independent electoral and Boundaries Commission IEBC to only admit those journalists accredited with the council.

The council also wants the politicians, public relations firms and other government and Non-governmental organizations to strictly admit journalists with the accreditation from the council into their events.

“We appeal to all those convening events for public consumption to admit only those who posses badges accredited by the Media council,” said Mwangi.

Already the Media council has developed a curriculum for training of the journalist in all Media colleges in Kenya that will be used at the Certificate and Diploma level.

The curriculum is still waiting approval by the Commission of Higher Education before the colleges pick it up.

“We have developed a strong curriculum for the training of the journalist that will ensure that we professionalize the trade,” added Mwangi.

Once the curriculum has been adopted, Mwangi says, that the media houses will employ no person if they don’t possess the certification of the new curriculum.

He said that they have been facing myriad of challenges even with the current journalists in which some were employed without relevant qualification.

If the threat made by the council is realized, then there will be a major crack down on hundreds of quack journalists who have been masquerading in big political functions and other events across the country.

The council is also tightening the noose on media houses flouting the code of ethics as the country approaches electioneering period.

Media was heavily blamed for fuelling the post election violence of 2007-2008 for abating unethical and biased standards in their coverage.

Speaking at the same function AU Deputy Chair Erastus Mwencha called on the politicians to actively participate in the regional integration.

Mwencha who was recently re-elected to his position challenged the media to uphold professionalism and report on diplomatic relations affecting the country boldly without fear or favour.

While hailing the vibrancy of the Kenyan media, the AU official noted that the press must hold the government accountable to the rule of law, strong leadership and governance.

Copyright : Standard Newspaper