- Kenya Editors Guild and Kenya Union of Journalists signed the MoU on behalf of the Kenya Media Sector Working Group.
- IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati committed to collaborating with the media in all its electoral processes at all levels.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman, Wafula Chebukati on Friday said the media plays a critical role in the election delivery more than any other stakeholder.
He said the media has a major space in the basic fundamentals of election management since it is the watchdog of the people.
Chebukati said it is the media that points out breaches of the law and code of conduct that institutions such as the Directorate of Public Prosecution, National Cohesion and Integration Committee and even IEBC pick and act on.
"Previously, IEBC has picked information from the media and acted on it and it will continue doing that. We have taken action against individuals whose misconduct was reported in the press," said Chebukati.
He spoke in Nakuru when the commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kenya Editors Guild and Kenya Union of Journalists on Friday.
KEG and KUJ signed the MoU on behalf of the Kenya Media Sector Working Group.
Chebukati committed to collaborating with the media in all its electoral processes at all levels starting from the polling stations to tallying centres at the constituencies, counties and national level.
"IEBC will give media access at all points, there are plans to have journalists in all the 290 constituencies for information sharing in order to reduce tension among the people," said Chebukati.
He also committed that IEBC would share all the information required and urged the media to desist from publishing or broadcasting unconfirmed reports.
"The commission has all the information required and it has nothing to hide because it works for the benefit of Kenyans," he added.
He also promised to accredit journalists and establish media centres at the national tallying centre, counties and even constituencies where possible.
KUJ President Eric Oduor said the MoU was meant to facilitate collaboration between the media and IEBC and would not compromise either parties' work.
"This was meant to cure some of the problems that were highlighted in the previous elections such as access to information because the public panics when information is not flowing," he said.
Oduor said the collaboration will help the media give timely and verifiable information to the masses.
"These are very interesting times where we have citizen journalism, we know the impact it can create if there are information gaps when elections are underway," he said.
Oduor said a media task force composed of members from IEBC and the media was formed under the MoU for proactive measures.
Speaking on behalf of KEG, Martin Masai said the collaboration would allow easy access to information and data required for timely reports.
He observed that the media has been misunderstood for only highlighting bad news but the MoU would help bring the whole picture.