Journalists urged to foster peaceful elections

Journalists have been asked to take a central role in advocating for peaceful campaigns ahead of the August 8 polls.

Lower Eastern IEBC manager, Joyce Wamalwa said reporters have a big stake in ensuring normalcy prevails during the current heated campaign season.

Speaking to the press in her office on Wednesday, Wamalwa further called upon reporters to always highlight incidents likely to jeopardize the electioneering process.

We want journalists to cooperate with us in ensuring smooth campaigns across the county. Reporters should always be at the forefront in exposing any suspicious activities which may lead to violence, and give vital information to the relevant authorities, she said.

The electoral manager was however, upbeat that the area would not witness chaotic scenes like those replicated in several places in the country during the recent party primaries, which ended up in courts.

Wamalwa said IEBC was fully prepared to handle the coming polls, while promising that nothing would detract them from conducting free and fair elections.

It is not in our interest as a commission to oversee an election that will end up being challenged in the courts of law, she added.

Last week, media houses were similarly advised against airing unrestricted news material to the public to avoid hyping up political tensions ahead of the August elections.

Addressing media practitioners in Machakos town, an official from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Moses Omirera said journalists had a key role to play in ensuring that any information disseminated to the public would not create animosity among Kenyans.

Omirera noted that while it was in the interest of the public to access information, such facts could be withheld if national security was threatened.

Journalists should refrain from airing news bordering on hate speech but rather censor the content. Divulgence of such information to public may end up stoking tension that could reignite chaos similar to what was witnessed after the 2007 disputed elections.

The official, who was speaking during a workshop organized by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution on Election Preparedness, said utterances by politicians geared to eliciting animosity against a selected group of people should as well be disregarded by reporters for the sake of national unity.

Source: Kenya News Agency