WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

Speaker Muturi to media owners: Pay your reporters well, then demand integrity

"Pay them well first and then demand integrity."

In Summary

• Muturi has urged journalists and editors to use all the legal and ethical means to obtain information held by the government and about the government.

• National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said that journalists deserve good pay following the kind of work they are doing including risking their lives.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi making his remarks during the World Press Freedom Day in a function held at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi on May 3, 2021.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi making his remarks during the World Press Freedom Day in a function held at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi on May 3, 2021.
Image: MEDIA COUNCIL OF KENYA

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has challenged media owners in Kenya to ensure that their reports and the news crew are paid well for their work.

Speaking at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi on Monday during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, Muturi said that journalists deserve good pay following the kind of work they are doing including risking their lives.

"For this conversation to make sense, today is my day to ask the media owners in this country to pay our children – their reporters and news crew very well. They deserve it,” Muturi said.

"Today is my day to ask media owners to pay our children, reporters and correspondents very well; pay them well first and then demand integrity, otherwise we risk making them captives of government and news sources."

He added that “I recently watched Purity Mwambia’s incisive documentary on Citizen TV and I was both shocked and worried for her. The risks involved, but also for the courage to go for the story. But in the end, how much do these people take home?"

The speaker said that free and independent media, spreading accurate and factual information is the cornerstone of a vibrant democracy and national development.

He added that the National Assembly has adopted and continues to strive to ensure that journalists have access to useful and important information from most committee sittings, including videos, audio, minutes of the meetings, and reports at this time of Covid-19.

ICT PS Esther Koimmet and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day at Serena Hotel on May 3, 2021.
ICT PS Esther Koimmet and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day at Serena Hotel on May 3, 2021.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

Muturi has urged journalists and editors to use all the legal and ethical means to obtain information held by the government and about the government.

"I know some of the journalists and editors do not have great things to say about the institution of Parliament. But I believe that this is due to a lack of information about what we have done to make access to public legislative information efficient. I will mention a few things,” Muturi said.

He also said that training on media law, standards, ethics, integrity, media literacy, and even the craft of journalism has been helpful in professionalising the media industry in Kenya.

Muturi has asked members of the Fourth Estate to hold all the civil servants in the public officials accountable on behalf of the people.

As the Fourth Estate, you need to hold all of us in public office accountable on behalf of the people. You tell us whenever you think we are betraying the country; you celebrate us when we do something great, and you also set the agenda for us.”

He continued that:

"If we go rogue and pass illegal laws, any Kenyan can take us to court and have those laws annulled. But what happens if the media goes rogue? That becomes tricky. Because when it comes to the media, it matters who assigns that label.”

The speaker said that Kenyan journalists have very powerful statutory allies in Articles 33, 34, and 35 of the Constitution which talk about freedom of expression, media freedom, and access to information, respectively.