The Nakuru County government on Friday evening held a consultative forum with journalists in the region to wrap up 2019.
The event was attended by officials of the county’s communication department, Media Council of Kenya Chief Executive Officer David Omwoyo and tens of journalists from Molo, Naivasha and Nakuru town.
The forum was aimed at enhancing relationships between the county government and the media.
Journalists had an opportunity to express their concerns and the challenges they face when dealing with county government officials in the line of duty.
The journalists raised concerns over the unavailability of officers in charge of various departments when sought to comment or give their views on matters happening in the county especially in rural areas.
“We appreciate that that all departments in the county government have executive members and chief officers who run the dockets. But it is unfortunate how some of them respond whenever they are questioned about matters in their respective dockets,” stated a local radio journalist.
The journalists urged county officials to be responsible and reachable whenever they are needed by either the media or residents.
“A lot of activities take place in rural areas and not in towns. People are suffering due to poor road networks triggered by recent floods. Clean water connection is also a major problem in villages, land issues are rampant but no one is willing to address them,” another journalist stated.
AGENTS OF CHANGE
County officials were asked to view journalists as agents of positive change and not enemies of devolution.
The journalists also urged the county government to accept criticism instead fighting back whenever stories that point out shortcomings in devolution are published.
County Director of Communications Beatrice Obwocha assured the journalists of support and cooperation from all departments in 2020.
“The aim of such forums is usually to get views and concerns from the media in order to adjust and improve on areas that the county may have failed in. I’ll work harder together with my team to ensure that all your grievances are addressed,” she said.
SUPPORT COUNTY INITIATIVES
Ms Obwocha appreciated the work media are doing and urged journalists to support the county’s initiatives as Nakuru municipality gears up for city status.
At the same time, Mr Omwoyo said the Media Council of Kenya is committed to improving professionalism among journalists and ensuring that all accredited journalists have the right skills to carry out their duties in a professional manner.
“It is important for all journalists to undertake annual accreditation by the council which helps in compiling and maintaining a register of journalists, media practitioners, media enterprises and media training institutions in Kenya,” he said.