The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Omwoyo, on Thursday, February 3, spoke on the influx of journalists ditching their profession for politics.
In an interview with Spice FM, Omwoyo welcomed the move, noting that it was high time for media personalities and communication professionals to sit at the country's decision-making table.
Omwoyo explained that despite MCK directing journalists who have expressed interest to vie for elective seats to resign six months before the election, they should be discouraged from completely withdrawing from the practice.
“We encourage them to join politics, we do not say that if you go to politics, you stop being a journalist," he remarked.
Omwoyo noted that media professionals ought to represent their colleagues in parliament and create laws that govern and safeguard the practice.
“We had a chat about how lawyers have flooded Parliament and how doctors are finding their way into the house too. We think that the highest decision making organs in the country should also have media experts,” he noted
He also addressed issues of a possible conflict of interest given that the media is a watchdog and is tasked with gatekeeping too. Omwoyo explained that it all depends on an individual to strike a balance between both worlds.
Omwoyo also addressed media bias, impartiality and the stations being dubbed githeri media owing to certain affiliations.
He blamed media owners for undermining the profession in a bid to cut down the costs of running media houses. He argued that local media houses reverted from the conventional style where experts would handle the news in their specific niches.
"If you look at international media, a case in point - the White House correspondents, an expert in White House politics with 35 years experience will always take the lead.
"Here, you arrive fresh from college, are given a suit and asked to report on the presidential transition, yet you have never even participated in a by-election," Omwoyo remarked.
Several media personalities have declared interest in politics, including Njogu wa Njoroge, Felix Odiwuor alias Jalang'o, Njambi Koikai, Tony Kwalanda and Mwanaisha Chidzuga.