EJEA AWARDS

Media plays critical role in reporting energy stories

Energy security remains a matter of national priority

In Summary

• Article 35 of the Constitution also provides for access to information as a fundamental right and there is no better platform to practice this principle than in the media.

• Access to competitive-priced, reliable, quality, safe and sustainable energy is essential for the achievement of Vision 2030.

Journalists covering an event. Photo/Monicah Mwangi
Journalists covering an event. Photo/Monicah Mwangi

Kenya Pipeline Company in league with all the state corporations under the Ministry of Energy and the State Department of Petroleum launched the fourth edition of the Energy Journalism Excellence Awards as a way of promoting quality energy journalism.

This is the view of having the sector’s story properly told. Mooted in 2014 by the then Ministry of Energy, this media engagement drive has reached out to over 1,000 journalists countrywide to educate them on the impact of the sector’s projects on the national economy. Since inception, the initiative has had a big impact equipping journalists from across the country with the requisite skills and knowledge to cover the sector from an informed perspective. KPC is spearheading this fourth edition on behalf of the sector after KenGen and Kenya Power organised the first three editions.

But why the focus on the media? The Ministry of Energy and the State Department of Petroleum are cognisant of the fact that the media has vital roles to play regarding education, social, and economic progress. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights United Nations ( 1948 ), the public should have access to information because people want institutions that are free and fair, transparent in their processes, competent, responsive and accountable.

Article 35 of the Constitution also provides for access to information as a fundamental right and there is no better platform to practice this principle than in the media as the government strives to have affordable, quality, renewable and safe energy for all Kenyans.

Access to competitive-priced, reliable, quality, safe and sustainable energy is essential for the achievement of Vision 2030. This explains why energy security remains a matter of national priority as the government aims at providing clean, sustainable, affordable, reliable, and secure energy services for national development while protecting the environment. Indeed, the Second Medium Plan 2013-77 identified energy as one of the enablers for the transformation of Kenya into a newly industrialising, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment.

In the last five years, the energy and petroleum sectors have made tremendous efforts in connecting Kenyan households, public and community facilities to electricity through various high impact interventions to trigger the much-needed socio-economic development. In addition, a number of essential petroleum infrastructure projects to enhance the availability of safe and affordable fuel in Kenya and neighbouring countries have been undertaken. These include oil exploration ventures, replacement of petroleum products pipelines, enhancement of the country’s fuel storage and distribution capacity, and investment in modern loading facilities to facilitate movement of petroleum from upstream, midstream and downstream.

Given this massive investment in projects running into billions of shillings, the story of the impact of these initiatives on households and communities must be told well by the media in a clear, concise and comprehensive way hence the energy journalism excellence awards to reward writers for balanced reporting.

Over the last two months, a total of 560 journalists have been educated on EJEA’s goal and many appreciated the role of the sector in national economy d. 

The EJEA strategy has also aligned its approach towards enhancing media’s capacity to underline the central role of the energy and petroleum sectors towards the realisation of the Big Four agenda which focuses on food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and access to universal healthcare all being Vision 2030 milestones. As government moots plans to take Kenya to the next level, media should, on the other hand, communicate clearly to the citizens and make them understand what programmes and initiatives government is undertaking and how these initiatives will improve the quality of lives for all citizens.

Journalists must eloquently interrogate on the impact of our projects to bring out their real value to the Kenyan people. 

EJEA focuses on nine categories in this year’s awards — power generation, transmission and infrastructure, oil and gas, energy and petroleum policy and regulation. Other categories include nuclear energy, energy and petroleum financing, green initiatives, corporate social responsibility in energy and petroleum, photography and videography in energy and petroleum sectors in what promises to open a range of new opportunities for journalists. The winners in the various categories will walk away with prestigious awards in the form of trophies, cash, certificates and study tours.

I urge all journalists with quality energy and petroleum stories to actively participate in these awards so as to bring out Kenya’s transformation story.

The writer in the Corporate Communications Manager, Kenya Pipeline Company. He can be reached on [email protected]