- Stephen Jaffe.
Members of Parliament are mulling blocking journalists from accessing Parliament Buildings in Nairobi.
Speaking in Mombasa on Wednesday, February 1, the lawmakers lamented over what they termed the failure of the members of the fourth estate to advance their interests, indecent dressing, handouts and misreporting.
Led by Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, the MPs hinted at plans to remove the parliament media centre.
"What is the benefit of having a media centre housed in parliament and yet we don't get the benefit of it?" Wanyonyi posed.Members of the 13th Parliament during President William Ruto's inaugural speech on September 29, 2022.The National Assembly
The issue of indecent dressing was highlighted by Kitui South legislator Rachel Nyamai, who argued that some journalists were not abiding by the parliament dress code.
"There seems to be a gap between the way parliament conducts itself in terms of the way people dress and the team of journalists that we have," Nyamai stated.
"Is there a way that we can have a conversation with our leadership so that they can up their game, especially on matters the way they appear," she added.
The concerns were raised during an engagement with the Media Council of Kenya (MCK).
Leader of the Majority side in parliament, Kimani Ichungwah, called out media houses, and individual journalists who he insisted were perpetuating hatred.
He, however, extended an olive branch to MCK by promising to advance their interests to give them more powers and influence over media practitioners.
"The media council seems impotent. Do you have powers? Or is there anything the national assembly can help you in terms of legislation to ensure you get teeth to bite? Ichungwah questioned.
The aggrieved lawmakers further raised an issue of brown envelopes. According to Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara, journalists had forced them to include them in their budget to avoid media blackouts.
"Every time you have a presser or need their services if you don't have a budget for them, you are given a blackout," Kihara stated.
Additionally, Kathiani MP Robert Mbui lamented over misreporting on the Constituency Development Funds (CDFs). Mbui insisted that MPs covering parliament need to get their facts right.
"Is it a coincident that two newspapers had a headline talking about the misuse of bursary by members of parliament," Robert Mbui?
Despite their protests, the move is seen as a clampdown on journalists and how they conduct their businesses.
However, to tame cases of rogue journalists demanding handouts, MCK recalled press cards.
"New Press Cards to have additional features including a barcode and QR code that can be scanned using any smartphone,"MCK CEO David Omwoyo stated.Kenyan journalists during a press conference in a past eventKBC
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