Media council attack media on offensive photos,video clips
The full statement by Media Council
The Media Council of Kenya appreciates the noble work by the Kenyan media in informing the public on yesterday’s Lunga Lunga fire tragedy. As the body in charge of promoting ethical standards among journalists and the media in Kenya, and in view of the latest developments, we are highly concerned with the deliberate contravention of certain articles in the Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya as entrenched in the Second Schedule of the Media Act 2007.
From the number of complaints we have received, it is noteworthy that the careless use of pictures from the scene and hospitals has upset the general public. This has in turn dented the image of the media before the public and in particular, contributed to mass condemnation of the profession’s ethical standards. In this regard, we have noted the coverage across most media houses has contravened the following articles in the Media Act: Article 9.
Obscenity, Taste and Tone in Reporting The publication of photographs showing mutilated bodies, the bloody and abhorrent scenes was in bad taste. Publishing of abhorrent photos as is clearly indicated in the Code should only be to satisfy public interest. The pictures flashed on television screens and published in newspapers were both traumatizing and disturbing to the audiences.
As stipulated in the Second Schedule of the Media Act 2007, journalists should avoid publishing obscene, vulgar or offensive material unless such material contains a news value which is necessary in the public interest. Article 20. Use of Pictures and Names Almost all the media houses carried repulsive photos without regard to public interest and those of affected families.
As a general rule, the media should apply caution in the use of pictures and names and should avoid publication when there is a possibility of harming the persons concerned. Pictures of grief, disaster and those that embarrass and promote sexism should be discouraged. Article 23. Editor’s Responsibility The article in the Code of Conduct requires that an editor should assume responsibility for all content published in a newspaper.
The pictures used were in bad taste and the respective editors should not have okayed their use. Even as we mourn with the families and friends of the victims, we urge all journalists to present news with integrity and decency and respect the dignity of the audience as well as the subjects of news. We urge editors to embrace moderation while selecting photos as they seek to highlight the dangers of such disasters.
We also request media houses to consider the physical and psychological effects of covering, airing and publishing such photographs, not only to the public and the victims’ families but also to their journalists as they go about their duties.
The Media Council of Kenya will always endeavour to promote and protect press freedom while ensuring adherence to expected professional and ethical standards as stipulated in the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya as per the Media Act 2007.
For more information, contact the Executive Director, Media Council of Kenya on the following numbers: +254 20 2737058, 2725032, +254 20 2737058, +254727735252 http://mediacouncil.or.ke