Can a journalist be an activist and an advocate for a cause without compromising the core editorial values of journalism? This is a question asked by the majority, as journalists are supposed to avoid becoming emotionally and politically involved in issues they are covering because once they do, they are likely to lose their objectivity.
Speaking in Bungoma during the Bungoma and Kakamega Counties female journalists training, Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) CEO & Convenor Grace Githaiga said journalists have a platform to speak out the evils in society, and as such, they have a responsibility to condemn social injustices by publishing stories.
“It’s high time women in media put issues affecting society in the limelight by being a voice for the voiceless.” They are supposed to push for changes in public policy as well as advocate for those changes. Explains Githaiga.
Githaiga, who is also a host and moderator on Take on Tech, a weekly TV talk show at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), added that journalists can amplify women’s voices by highlighting their stories, giving them a platform to air their views, engaging them in interviews, and featuring them in documentaries and news.
A radio producer at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), Toepista Nabusoba, said advocacy journalism should always bring positive change and should adopt a non-objective viewpoint socially and politically.
Nabusoba noted that advocacy, unlike propaganda, is fact-based but supports a specific point of view on an issue whose goals are to inform, influence, and involve by setting the agenda, shaping the debate, as well as advancing a policy.
Racheal Nakitare, who is a trainer at the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) in Kenya, insisted on the need for female journalists to make follow-ups to their stories, especially those that involve gender-based violence, rape, defilement, sexual harassment, and so on.
As a female journalist, you must put yourself in that situation and be empathetic. You should always do follow-ups to the stories you air to see if justice was served,” said Nakitare.
By Brenda Imai