Commission to handle Media Complaints in Kenya Sworn in

Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and Technology Joe Mucheru is received by Media Council CEO Dr Haron Mwangi when he arrived at Hotel Intercontinental Nairobi to officially inaugurate Media Council Board recently.

A commission mandated with handling disputes between the government and the media houses and between the public and the media has been sworn in. The Media Complains Commission comprises of seven members, who were sworn in at the High Court. The commission will also be responsible for ensuring adherence to high-quality standards of journalism provided for in the code of conduct for practicing journalists in Kenya. Additionally, the commission will ensure impartiality, speedy and effective settlement of complaints against journalists and media enterprises.

The commission headed by Mwangi Kariuki was formed following the enactment of the Media Council Act 2013. The Commission has powers to receive, investigate and resolve complaints against journalists and media companies. The first task of the Commission on resuming office will be to elect the vice chair before embarking on the task of resolving 28 cases already presented before the commission.

In recent times, there have been various complaints against media houses for violation of ethics. One of the most prominent cases was the headline by Daily Nation following the Westgate attacks. Many complained the header image was in violation of journalistic ethics. Other cases have targeted online media channels such as blogs that have often published untrue stories prompting complaints. The commission will, therefore, have an uphill task in the resolution of these issues and ensuring adherence to the high standards.