By Reuben Olita
Busia Journalists and activists on May 3rd, 2022 marked the World Press Freedom Day with a passionate plea to the government to enhance their security during this electioneering period.
Addressing the press outside Green Garden in Busia Town, they also called for better remuneration to enable them execute their duties without any hinderance.
Mr Patrick Okumu, a journalist with Emuria FM said their colleagues in hotspot areas like Wajir, Isiolo, Baringo and West Pokot should be given adequate security even if it means arming them as was the practice in other countries in the world.
Chief Public Communication Officer with the County Government of Busia, Mr Reuben Olita urged members of the fourth estate not to take sides while covering candidates for various positions during this electioneerig period but practice impartiality during execution of their duties.
” Media Council of Kenya and Kenya Correspondents Association should prevail upon various media houses to give correspondents better renumerations to enable them execute their duties without being influenced,” he said.
TV 47 Correspondent, Mr Checky Abuje urged media houses to reverse the issue of regional chief bureaus from the current practice where they are based at the former provincial headquarters like Kakamega and instead have them based at County levels with facilitation availed at County level.
Calvin Wanga of Western Nyota Radio urged correspondents to register with the Kenya Correspondents Association to guarantee them of security and safety during execution of their duties.
An activist with New Kengele Forum, Mr Francis Mukamani said there is need by media houses to give journalists better remuneration and and insurance, giving an example of world Billionaire media executive and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey whose status is unrivalled.
Busia Crossborder Traders Association chairman, Mr David Erulu said with the electioneering period, journalists should be allowed to discharge their duties since they are bound by their ethics, adding that as their consumers they are happy with what members of the Fourth Estate are doing.
Busia County Boda Boda Association chairman, Eric Makokha said there is need by County and National Governments to set up contigegency fund for journalists who are injured or lose their tools of trade while on duty, reiterating that they also need better stipends.
World Press Freedom Day acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
It is also a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.
This year’s theme was “Journalism Under Digital Siege.”