Kenyan journalists criticise foreign correspondents

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- The secretary general of the Kenyan Union of Journalists, Ezekiel Mutua announced that local journalists shall henceforth, play a more assertive role in local news coverage.
Mutua said the approach would serve "to correct the negative image given Kenya by foreign correspondents" in their reports.
Speaking on behalf of the Union Sunday, Mutua said foreign correspondents had on several occasions portrayed Kenya in their reports as "a country on fire".
"Surely this is our country and if it sinks we will all sink with it," Mutua told a press conference.
He said the union was pushing for the formulation of a media policy that would include journalists into the major decision-making process and thereby correct the erstwhile notion held by most leaders that journalists were enemies.
He decried the recent action by the UN to downgrade the status of Nairobi from class B to D as a result of "insecurity".
The action, taken in March, ranks Nairobi alongside Columbia, as far as insecurity is concerned.
Nairobi hosts the head offices of the UN Environment Programme, and it is the only Third World city to host such a major UN agency.
Mutua said the decision by the UN would not have been endorsed if journalists, especially the foreign correspondents, had undertaken a "more responsible" approach to news reporting.
He appealed to their foreign colleagues to be truthful, fair and balanced in their reporting.
"We are asking for total freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
But this also means greater responsibility by both the media and the general public," Mutua said.
Meanwhile, Mutua urged members of the union to impose news black out on national leaders who incite the public with negative issues and fan ethnic tensions.
"Such leaders should not be given exhaustive coverage by newspapers or other media, but should in fact, be criticised," Mutua suggested.
"Some of the problems the country is facing today come undue media publicity to these individuals," he claimed.
The problems range from the economic slump characterised by the collapse of the tourism sector to an upsurge in un- patriotic sentiments.

09 july 2001 13:46:00




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