07 Oct 2023

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has urged aggrieved parties to utilise the Complaints Commission to report media grievances.

MCK CEO Mr David Omwoyo says that despite having a Complaints Commission in place, cases involving journalists and media were still being reported to the courts.

“The work done by the Complaints Commission is that of a quasi-judicial body. We still find situations where aggrieved parties move to court, get orders and compensations over cases that should have been handled by the Commission”, said Mr Omwoyo during an end term evaluation meeting with the Complaints Commissioners.

He said that the Council has been in talks with the courts to ensure that such cases are brought before the Commission.

“The Council has been trying ways of committing the courts to ensure that the first point of contact of such cases is the Complaints Commission, but this has faced some challenges due to a lack of proper understanding on the placement of tribunals in the judicial system”, he said.

He advised the Commissioners to leverage the opportunities that give them a better edge over institutions of their nature.

“One of the unique things about the Commission is the turnaround time for determination of cases. The purpose of a quasi-judicial body is not to replicate a judicial process but to have an easier and faster resolution”, he stated.

He called for a fresh approach in communicating the work of the Commission.

“We need to reflect on certain communication protocols for the Complaints Commission and judgments. This is part of the value proposition to ensure that the information shared is clear and solid”, he emphasised.

The CEO also noted the uniqueness of the Council and Complaints Commission in their mode of operations.

“We are principally the only Media Council and Complaints Commission in the world. We need to work around the institutionalisation matters to ensure that we still maintain public goodwill, industry and government trust and support”, he said.

Mr Omwoyo mentioned the challenges brought about by the changing media landscape and requested for readjustment of the procedures in order to handle cases brought about by the space.

“We need to recognise that the media sector has been turned upside down. This is due to digital migration and emergence of artificial intelligence which have caused a crisis in the media industry. The broadcast media is being taken over by podcasts. We therefore need to come up with mechanisms to handle cases emanating from this space”, he said

Mr Omwoyo assured the Commissioners that the Council will work with the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy to develop guidelines on the obligations of the Complaints Commission.

He commended the Complaints Commissioners for an exemplary performance during their three-year tenure at the Council.