Media Council Moves in To Caution Coverage of Kenyan Attack

The WestGate Mall in Nairobi
The WestGate Mall in Nairobi
The WestGate Mall in Nairobi

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) had issued a statement saying that there have been breaches by some media houses on the Media Act 2007, while covering the Nairobi WestGate Mall attack that has left 68 people dead.

“While the general performance of the media in covering the tragedy has been exemplary and journalists displayed professionalism in the coverage, a number of breaches in the code of conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya as provided for by the Media Act 2007 have been noted,” the council said.

The council has noted that some media outlets have intruded into the privacy of those who are under grief and shock. Some of the journalists hounded escapees who were visibly in shock and went on a rampage of questioning.

The council also noted the used of pictures and names of victims and even police officers have been aired or published in local media.

The council urged journalists and media practitioner to heed to the code of conduct even as they give the country information. The government as early as Saturday when the siege began, urged media houses not to air the live proceedings.

Some pundits argued that these directives amounted to unauthorized media censorship. This is a debate that will definitely come up once the dust settles on the tragedy.

Meanwhile, the Media Council says that it will organize counseling sessions for those journalist covering the WestGate Mall siege.

“The Media Council of Kenya will conduct trauma counseling for journalists who covered, and those still covering the Westgate hostage crisis,” it announced through its twitter account.