Editors, MCK Lock Horns Over Content, ‘Headline’ Regulation

Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) president Churchill Otieno. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

The Editors’ Guild has expressed distaste against the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) for false accusations against editors and journalists in several media houses.

In a statement last week, MCK accused editors and journalists of using screaming headlines without corresponding and appropriate content, as well as multiple repetitions of headlines over a short period of time.

“In perhaps the worst display of prejudiced journalism, the media has resorted to partisan, skewed and informal presentation of news and current affairs, even when covering pertinent national issues that deserve professional and a balanced approach,” said MCK chairman Maina Muiruri.

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In response to the allegations, in a statement today, editors accused the Council of peddling unfounded claims, without evidence.

Editors’ Guild President Churchill Otieno argued that the regulatory body failed to provide evidence on the methodology, terms of reference, authors, recommendations or even the existence of such a study (of the alleged stories and media trends).

“We ask MCK to provide any evidence on which its statement was based or withdraw the statement and apologise to the media, journalists and Kenyans. MCK is the regulator of media in Kenya but this in no way gives it a right to interfere with editorial independence,” noted Otieno.

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“In the absence of such evidence, it is clear that the MCK is out of control, is overstepping its mandate and is clearly a threat to media freedom as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya,” he said.

“We find this irresponsible and negligent at the least, since it is the same MCK that houses the entity with a legal mandate to arbitrate in the media – the Complaints Commission. If, indeed, a specific complaint has been lodged, then this deserves diligent attention through well laid down procedures,” said Mr Otieno, Nation Media Group’s Digital Managing Editor.

Editors are now demanding an apology from the regulator.

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