“Are reporters socially responsible? Do they understand the effect of their stories? Social cohesion was previously not embraced by mainstream media but post election violence changed that.” These were the words of Kathleen Openda, the TJRC Director of Communications.
Kathleen was a guest speaker at “Socially Responsible Reporting” roundtable hosted at Internews in Nairobi. The roundtable brought together over 60 participants that included editors, journalists from both mainstream and vernacular radio stations, and civil society representatives. It focused on how journalists can report on justice reforms and transitional justice mechanisms such as the TJRC, with an emphasis on what these institutions mean for the people.
In her presentation titled “Transformative Journalism”, she highlighted the interaction the TJRC has had with the media so far, and underlined reporting challenges. Kathleen also shared from her personal experience as a journalist. She said journalists needed to move away from “se said/she said” kind of journalism. She encouraged participants to dig deeper into the issues on which they report.
This is a view with which Abdulswamad Sharrif, the CEO and presenter of Radio Rahma, agreed. “We all need to put it in ourselves that we are Kenyan. When violence comes there will be no business and this will affect the media,” he said.
At the event, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Media Council of Kenya and Internews. The MOU provides a framework for collaboration to ensure the development of a Code of Conduct for election coverage.