On Sunday December 11th, 2016, Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joe Mucheru joined the CITAM family Valley Road to officially launch Hope TV. The emergence of private TV Stations such as Hope TV attests to the dividends gained by the liberalization of the media industry and later, the successful migration from analogue to digital broadcasting in this country .Supportive government policies and legislation have reduced the cost of licensing – making it cheaper to invest and operate in the broadcasting industry. Today, there are 70 TV stations and 139 FM stations that have created employment for some 3000 documented journalists and migration to digital led to efficient and effective use of IT for quality and high standard broadcast programming.

While speaking at the launch, CS Mucheru urged media, especially TV producers to integrate ICT, Engineering and scientific content in their programming that advances improved human health, livestock and agricultural practices for development. Mr. Mucheru cautioned against unethical journalism practices such as use of insensitive language and pictures/videos on radio and television and proposed balanced TV programming that not only concentrates on entertainment and politics but also incorporate science and innovations for sustainable development.

TV is a powerful medium of communication whose visual effect is compelling and impactful. TV transmits messages that have lasting impressions on their viewers  therefore; both live and recorded TV producers and content developers must observe good ethics. They are under obligation to develop appropriate content that promotes national development and social cohesion. Hope Media has been doing this by providing wholesome, relevant and realistic content through the programmes on Hope FM, listen and live and Hope TV look and live. With specific criteria that meets the needs of national development, we have heard on-air discussions on matters that affect us on a day to day basis including, health, legislation, investment, leadership, and on the most part spiritual nourishment among others.

Journalists are important in exposing societal ills and keeping public officers accountable in their public duties and in upholding integrity. They also influence policy, decision making and legislative frameworks for good governance and management of public affairs.  CS Mucheru reiterated that the government is fully committed to protecting press freedom and working with the media to promote fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the constitution.
However, freedom and rights must be practiced responsibly. “Although the media has a role to play as society’s watchdog, journalists and media owners must guard against abuse of freedom. The government will take firm action against those publishing information that eroded societal moral values and incites the public to violence. I urge media owners to employ professionals with knowledge of media laws and ethics if they have to protect and maintain the reputation of the fourth estate” Mr. Mucheru said. “ As we approach elections, I call on the media to rally Kenyans to peace and mutual coexistence” he concluded.

By: Carol Sakwa 11 December, 2016.