Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and Digital Economy, Eliud Owalo has pleaded for responsible and balanced reporting based on the interest of the country.
In an interview on Citizen Television, Owalo addressed the perceived hostility towards the media from government offices and officials, and the role of the media in upholding freedom of expression.
The Cabinet Secretary acknowledged that the government respects the freedom of the media, as enshrined in the constitutional dispensation of 2010.
“The government’s official position is to uphold this freedom and ensure that the media has the necessary space to operate,” he said.
However, Owalo pointed out that there may be instances of bias within the media, especially in the aftermath of the previous elections.
Addressing the accusations of hostility, the Cabinet Secretary urged balanced stories by the media as a means to hold the government accountable for its actions through checks and balances.
While acknowledging instances where the media may take sides, he affirmed that the government remains committed to upholding freedom of expression and association.
“The government’s aim is not to suppress the media but rather to encourage responsible reporting that takes into account the larger interests of the country,” said Owalo.
Owalo’s sentiments followed recent incidents where journalists have faced attacks, especially during demonstrations.
The Cabinet Secretary condemned any excesses by individual members of the police force and emphasized the need for both the media and the security forces to exercise responsibility.
He recognized the importance of creating an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, expressing concerns that certain actions might deter potential investors.
While acknowledging the government’s past advertising expenditures, he highlighted the need for media organizations to diversify their revenue streams in the digital age.
He encouraged the media to adapt to the changing landscape and explore innovative ways to sustain their operations adding that “it is not the role of the government to solely finance the media.”
This follows the alleged withdrawal of all advertisements by the state in the local media outlets by the Trade Cabinets Secretary, Moses Kuria.
While acknowledging the challenges and biases that may exist, he said that the two entities exist to hold each other accountable while existing independently.
“The government is committed to upholding freedom of expression and ensuring an environment conducive to both responsible journalism and private sector growth,” he said.