BUILDING THE SKILLS OF MALINDI JOURNALISTS TO GIVE VISIBILITY TO THE YOUTH AND WOMEN DURING THE ELECTORAL PROCESS IN KENYA
8TH August 2012
“During any electoral process in Kenya, the youth and women are always portrayed in the media as victims and perpetrators and this affects their potential to participate either as voters or as aspirants,” says Robert Nyagah, coordinator of AWC supported Media Diversity Centre in Malindi.
Over 29 media practitioners and civil society officials n Kilifi County recently benefited from a training on how to handle the youth and gender issues in the electoral process conducted by African oman and Child Feature Service under the Tuvuke Peaceful Initiative project.
The participants from the women organizations included five women leaders from Malindi and Kilifi towns who said that they were happy to be empowered with skills and information to help them work and engage more effectively with the media during the electoral process which can also help them be part of promoting issues and stories on he need for a peaceful process. Civil society organizations represented at the forum at Sea View Resort included; wahisi/Pumma, Malindi Residents Forum, Licasi Kenya, Twahisi Sanaa Ya Wassia, Masafa Group and Halisi Communications.
There were also representatives from five FM stations; Baraka, Kaya, Rahma and Radio africa. The TV stations included; NTV, Royal Media and K24. The training came at a critical time since the entire Coastal region has currently been making headlines over the on-going campaigns under the Mombasa Republican’s Council agitation to secede. In Malindi, the ‘Pwani si Kenya’ campaign is also a reality. In addition, youths in Malindi have continued to attract negative publicity. This is due to the ampart drug problem that has permeated in this region. The inability of young people to remain lucid during this electioneering period compromises their ability to make sober decisions.
The other problem facing the region is the retrogressive cultural attitudes particularly among the Mijikenda a composite tribe consisting of 9 other tribes. This community continues to promote attitudes that have significantly hampered efforts towards gender equality and this has affected the role of women in any electoral process as voters and also as aspirants. The meeting therefore highlighted how the journalists and the media can effectively work with the youths, women and men to ensure that there is a peaceful election. This is even more so because the media has continued to perpetuate certain stereotypes, particularly against women and youths without addressing the underlying issues.
For the media to do this effectively they need skills and knowledge, which the majority of the journalists in Malindi do not have. This was confirmed by Nyagah who said; “This is the first time any organization had held training for journalists in Kilifi County, adding; most capacity-building forums are normally being held in Mombasa, 120 Km away, and/or Nairobi. And this normally does not take into consideration the socio-political and economic environment of the Kilifi County.”
Some of the key highlights of the training focused on the use of code of conduct for journalists and the importance of using Guidelines for Elections Coverage to ensure that ethical standards are maintained. It also focused on the gains for the youth and women in the new Constitution, which was promulgated two years ago, and how media practitioners and civil society officials could benefit by using them in their profession and in promoting peace throughout the electoral process.
Other important tools used at the training included the Political Parties Act; Guidelines for monitoring hate speech in the electronic media in Kenya produced by National cohesion Commission; and Guidelines for election coverage by the Media Council of Kenya. Said Nyagah;“We are very happy with AWC and the Tuvuke Peace Initiative project for this training forum and strongly believe that it will help us to resolve some of the professional challenges we are facing. We have now been well equipped with required tools and skills to work more effectively and professionally.”
During the training, one of the major issues that arose was mistrust between the media and civil society officials. Concern was also raised by the civil society that the local media as giving them and their activities a raw deal and/or blackout in favour of politics. The participants also identified gaps especially the lack of capacity on how the media works even though the media tend to give too much emphasis to politicians and ignoring
gender and youth focused projects and activities being carried out by the civil society in the county.
After serious discussions, there was greater understanding between the women organisations, the civil society, the youth and the media practitioners who agreed to work together to work together to ensure that the youth and women participate in an electoral process and also to write stories on major issues affecting the local community side by side with the hard news and politics by being more creative and imaginative.
For us the challenge is now to produce more stories for the Media Diversity Centre and the two online publications, Kenyan-Woman and Reject newspapers. But we must always strife to remain united and make our county more visible and vocal through the media,” says Nyagah.
Weekly Activity - July Week 1
|ICC||JUL||2||MONDAY||Civic Education Trainings for TOT's||Laikipia North|
|Smart Citizens||JUL||3||TUESDAY||Multi Ethnic Community Forms||UASINGISHU|
|Smart Citizens||JUL||3||TUESDAY||Multi Ethnic Community Forms||NAROK|
|Smart Citizens||JUL||3||TUESDAY||Multi Ethnic Community Forms||MIGORI|
|Smart Citizens||JUL||3||TUESDAY||Multi Ethnic Community Forms||KISUMU|
|Smart Citizens||JUL||3||TUESDAY||Multi Ethnic Community Forms||BOMET|
|ACK||JUL||3||TUESDAY||Pastors Conference - Theme - Patriarchy-Reedemed church of EA Training Centre||ELDORET|
|ACK||JUL||4||WEDNESDAY||Pastors Conference - Theme - Patriarchy||ELDORET|
|CCR||JUL||6||FRIDAY||CommunityForum-Dialogue on Early Warning Reporting on Multi Ethinic Community forums||LAIKIPIA-SIPILI|
|Smart Citizens||JUL||7||SATURDAY||Three Days Exhibitions||UASINGISHU|
|Smart Citizens||JUL||7||SATURDAY||Multi ethnic interfaith Forum||NAROK|
|Ujamaa||JUL||7||SATURDAY||Multi ethnic interfaith Forum||Kwale|
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