Media Council’s directive to all Journalists eying political seats

Journalists found engaging in politics while still in office will be in trouble

Media Council of Kenya CEO David Omwoyo

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK), under the leadership of its CEO David Omwoyo, has asked all journalists eying political seats to consider vacating their jobs in pursuit to section 6 (K) of the Media Council Act, 2013.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Omwoyo said that a number of media practitioners have been contravening the Media Council Act, an occurrence they have noted with concern.

“The Council advises that any person subject to the Media Council Act who becomes a political candidate or intends to be employed or campaigns for a particular political party must step aside from journalistic practice.

"This will ensure adherence to the Act and avoidance of any real, imagined, or perceived conflict of interest," the statement says in part.

The Council added that any person who engages in political campaigns while still in office risks violation of the law.

“Any person subject to the Act who engages in political campaigns while still in office risks violation of the law.

"Following our continued media monitoring, it has been established that some journalists, media practitioners and media enterprises are contriving this provision. The MCK has noted with concerns possible violation of the act, and hereby advises them to refrain from violating the provisions of the law,” the statement added

MCK cautioned that they are ready to take action against any journalists found engaging in politics while still in office.

“The Council will take enforcement action against any journalist, media practitioners and media enterprises who are found to be in breach of the Act,” Omwoyo warned.

On January 3, 2022 Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director-general Ezra Chiloba said that all broadcasters seeking to run for political office should quit by April 9.

"The Authority requires broadcasting licensees to ensure that aspiring candidates associated with or employed by their stations, take the required leave of office by 9th April, 2022 as gazetted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in Gazette Notice No. 430," Ezra Chiloba said,

On the other hand, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) set February 9, 2022 as the deadline for public officers to resign if they intend to vie in the upcoming elections.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) said that it would not approve candidates who will have breached this requirement.

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