- Simon KiraguKenyans.co.ke
The Kenya Editor's Guild has released a raft of guidelines on how journalists should conduct themselves in court and how they should report on court processes.
The guide which was unveiled on September 15, 2020, banned journalists from conducting interviews in court.
Reporters were encouraged to seek interpretation of court rulings, decisions or comments from judicial officers only.Kenya Editors Guild Vice President Samuel Maina at the launch of the Guide to Court Reporting in Kenya on September 15, 2020File
Camera operators working with various media houses were also barred from using flash photography during court proceedings.
"Images that portray judges, magistrates, litigants, counsel/advocates or the public in an undignified manner shall not be shown," the document directs.
Media houses were also urged to ensure equipment is mounted at designated places prior to the opening of a day's proceedings.
If setting up or removal of equipment is done intrusively, the court will have the discretion of removing the film from court proceedings.
All journalists should dress in official attire including camera operators and should refrain from approaching the bench unless under explicit permission.
The President of the Court of Appeal Justice William Ouko who was at the launch stated that the media played a key role in court coverage.
He added that continous training will equip journalists with the requisite skills to cover the courts more effectively and enhance the quality and accuracy of reporting.
“Despite the importance of courthouse reporting, judges, lawyers and members of the public often complain about reporting that is inaccurate, biased or short on context. To some, this is because those sent by media houses to do stories about cases have no or little training about the complexities of the justice system, processes of the court and its terminology” said Justice William Ouko.
He lauded KEG for launching the guidelines that he said would go a long way in helping journalists play their cardinal role of informing masses accurately.Justice William Ouko at the launch of the Guide to Court Reporting in Kenya on September 15, 2020File
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