How to obtain press cards in Kenya
Freelance and permanently employed journalists, both local and international, have often found themselves in positions where they are supposed to obtain press cards in Kenya in order to be professionally accredited as per the laws of Kenya.
Under the laws of Kenya, Media Act 2007 establishes the Media Council of Kenya which is supposed to regulate the activities of journalists and the media at large in order to ensure discipline.
Among the mandates of the Council is to promote high professional standards amongst journalists, promote ethical standards among journalists and in the media; and compile and maintain a register of journalists, media enterprises and such other related registers as it may deem fit.
For this reason, anyone in Kenya who would like to practice journalism is required to first obtain a press card by undergoing an accreditation process as laid out by the council.
Requirements for obtaining press cards in Kenya
The requirements for accreditation for a journalist in Kenya include a letter from your employer and a clear passport photograph on a white background. Freelance journalists require a letter of reference from the organization they correspond for with proof of professional training required in some cases.
After fulfilling the above requirements, one is also expected to come up with an accreditation fee of Ksh.2, 000 for local journalists and between Ksh.5, 000 to Ksh.10, 000 for foreign journalists depending on the duration of their activities.
Students studying journalism can also receive press cards at a reduced accreditation fee of Ksh.300. It is noteworthy that the fees in all cases are applicable for annual subscription with renewal terms requiring fresh payments to be made.
Journalists in Kenya are guided by a code of conduct which stipulates the ethical things they should observe while they go about their work of gathering, processing and disseminating news. In Kenya, the media enjoys enormous freedom as enshrined in the constitution of Kenya 2010. The bill of rights in the constitution provides for the freedom of the media under article 34.
However, the press in Kenya is put in check by the Media Council of Kenya which acts as the prefect of the industry. A media monitoring team is responsible for scrutinizing content coming out of the press, both public and private.
When professional reporting on certain issues is not adhered to, the council is responsible for flagging it and conducting training exercises in order to rectify the situation. Some of the issues that have elicited need for training in the near past include hate speech reporting, reporting on the Mombasa Republican Council, covering the impending elections, human rights matters among many others.
The Media Council of Kenya is located in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area, on the ground floor of Britak Centre off Ragati road and opposite cba Centre.
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