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Media Council considers accreditation of content creators

The emergence of ordinary individuals capturing, reporting, and sharing news stories have led the MCK to consider accreditation of content creators

Media Council of Kenya CEO David Omwoyo during the launch of the 2024 MCK Accreditation Survey Report on June 14 2024
  • Digital disruption is transforming the media landscape in Kenya
  • Citizen journalism is on the rise due to digital technologies
  • Opportunities and challenges arise from the impact of citizen journalism on news reporting and consumption in Kenya

The media landscape in Kenya has been undergoing a significant transformation due to digital disruption.

A recent report by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) highlights how digital technologies are impacting media accreditation and standards, presenting both opportunities and challenges for journalists and media practitioners across the country.

One of the most significant developments in this digital revolution is the emergence of citizen journalism.

According to the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Accreditation Survey Report of June 2024, 46% of respondents highlighted the increase in citizen journalism as a major impact of digital disruption.

This trend is reshaping how news is reported, consumed, and perceived in Kenya.

Citizen journalism refers to the practice of ordinary individuals capturing, reporting, and sharing news stories, often using smartphones and social media platforms.

This democratisation of content creation has allowed more voices to be heard and has made news more accessible to the public.

People from all walks of life can now report events in real-time, providing a diverse array of perspectives that traditional media might overlook.

The rise of citizen journalism presents both opportunities and challenges for traditional media outlets.

On one hand, it offers a wealth of firsthand information and footage that can enhance news coverage. On the other hand, it intensifies competition for traditional journalists, who must now compete with a multitude of amateur reporters.

This shift requires traditional media to adapt by incorporating user-generated content and engaging more actively with their audiences.

One of the primary challenges posed by citizen journalism is ensuring the accuracy and credibility of the information shared.

The MCK report indicates that 47% of respondents believe digital platforms have exacerbated the issue of mis/disinformation.

Without the rigorous editorial standards and fact-checking processes that traditional media adhere to, citizen-generated content can sometimes spread false or misleading information. This poses a significant risk to public trust in the media.

To address these challenges, there is a growing need for collaboration between traditional media, citizen journalists, and regulatory bodies like the MCK.

Traditional media can play a crucial role in verifying and amplifying credible citizen reports, while also providing training and resources to help citizen journalists adhere to ethical standards.

The MCK can support these efforts by offering accreditation and recognition to citizen journalists who demonstrate professionalism and accuracy in their reporting.

The rise of citizen journalism also presents numerous opportunities for individuals who wish to contribute to the media landscape.

With the proliferation of digital tools and platforms, aspiring journalists can now reach a global audience with their stories.

This has led to increased coverage of local issues and events that might not receive attention from mainstream media.

Additionally, citizen journalists can leverage social media to build their own brands and followings, creating new pathways for careers in journalism.

Accreditation can help formalise and professionalise citizen journalism, ensuring that those who engage in news reporting are held to high standards of accuracy and ethics.

One of the key recommendations from the report is to simplify the accreditation process for citizen journalists.

By making it easier for independent content creators and bloggers to obtain accreditation, the MCK can help ensure that citizen journalists adhere to professional standards.

Simplified procedures and reduced bureaucratic hurdles can encourage more citizen journalists to seek formal recognition, enhancing their credibility and the reliability of their content.

Recognising the significant role that independent content creators and bloggers play in today's media environment, the MCK recommends extending accreditation to these groups.

By doing so, the council acknowledges the contributions of non-traditional journalists and brings them into the fold of professional journalism.

This move can help establish a more inclusive media landscape where diverse voices are respected and held to high ethical standards.

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