Journalists warned on hate speech as World Radio Day is marked

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Nairobi, KENYA: Kenya on Monday joined other countries around the globe to mark World Radio Day.

This year’s theme being “Radio is You!” , it was noted with concern that incidences of hate speech would suffice on radio space, as Kenya heads to the 2017 General Elections.

“Journalists should avoid being used as instruments of spreading hate and venom on air. We have a Multimedia Tribunal Commission to deal with cases where a radio station has been involved in inciting people,” Principal Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, Samuel Itemere cautioned.

Mr. Itemere advised all journalists to observe the Government’s broadcasting policies as a means of avoiding messages that would bring divisions amongst Kenyans.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer Media Council of Kenya MCK Victor Bwire noted that vernacular stations were notorious in spreading hate messages.

“Many journalists in these stations have not undergone proper media training. At the same time we expect professionalism. We are doing some in-house training for radio presenters because they have less time to be trained,” he added.

Mr. Bwire advised journalists to use MCK’s code of conduct which he termed as the journalist’s Bible.

“Radio is a powerful tool that can be used to spread peace or vile messages. Remember the Rwanda genocide was fueled by hateful radio messages. The same happened in Kenya during the 2007/08 era. Politicians have become clever and realized the power of radio. If journalists are not careful they might fall into the politician’s trap,” James Ratemo from MCK told Baraka FM.

13th February is celebrated globally as World Radio Day to improve international cooperation between broadcasters and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.

The World Radio Day was endorsed by the UN General Assembly in December 2012, as proposed by the UNESCO, to coincide with the day United Nations Radio was established in 1946.

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