Journalists cautioned on fake news as world celebrates press freedom day

Journalists demonstrate in Mombasa following attacks on their colleagues PHOTO COURTESY

Nairobi,KENYA: Journalists all over the country have been cautioned against spreading fake news.

Mr. Linus Kaikai, chairman of the editor’s guild  who was speaking during the  journalists convention at the Intercontinental hotel in Nairobi on Wednesday, cautioned journalists on publishing and spreading fake news stating that  fake news has compromised the credibility of news stories.

“Lately fake news is a real problem that has faced our media industry, we should be responsible and maintain media ethics by telling the truth because it’s a precious tool”. Said Kaikai.

In regards to the August general election coverage, the chairman urged the IEBC to move swiftly so as to close the gap between tallying and polling centers all over the country so that media can be able to relay credible results to  Kenyans.

Echoing Kaikai’s sentiments was the cabinet secretary, ministry of information, communication and technology, honorable Joe Mucheru  who urged the  media to be vigilant on setting the agenda so a to avoid compromising  peace during the  election process.

The Journalists conference kicked off on Wednesday as the world is commemorating world press freedom day.

On the other hand, Ken Wekesa a radio journalist  urged the government to unearth the cause of death of some of the journalists who have died under mysterious circumstances and added that their death has caused an alarm among the media circles.

“I urge the government to open up and tell Kenyans the causes of death of some of the Kenyan journalists who died under unknown circumstances. We are alarmed by the whole drama. Again some of us are being misused by Kenyans to give out false information to the public so that they can disrupt national peace.” He argued.

According to the an UNESCO report dated 2013 on the safety of journalists over 700 journalists have been killed in the line of duty since 2006 while on average, one journalist dies every five days in the pursuit of his/her profession.

The report further states that from 2006-2014, print media has the most cases of killed journalists with 40% of the victims while television coming second with 28% and Radio represents 21% of the victims.

The remaining statistics are 6% for Web-based journalists and 5% for journalists active on multiple platforms.

Statistics in Kenya state that in the first quarter of 2017,  five journalists have been attacked in the line of duty in different parts of the country while in 2016 five journalists were assaulted and attacked  either by  unknown or known people while at work.

Police have been put on the spotlight for being reluctant to investigate on the incidents which were reported fully.

Additional reporting by Peter Kombe