MPs should not dictate to media on work, dressing

The core business of MPs is making laws and providing oversight. They risk getting distracted if they begin to dabble in other matters, such as determining how media practitioners dress and do their work.

The media are a watchdog for society, who monitor and highlight issues and problems to get them solved.

In this, they work closely with politicians, who have an important role to play as grassroots and national leaders. But the journalists are not obligated to give coverage that is favourable to anyone.

The media highlight issues of public interest by digging up information and seeking solutions. It is not their responsibility to flatter politicians or indulge their egos.

Parliament, as one of the three arms of government alongside the Executive and the Judiciary, is an important institution whose activities, proceedings and performance the media must cover.

This is because the people, whom the leaders represent in the august House, deserve to know and be able to make sound decisions.

It is, therefore, disappointing to hear that some MPs are plotting to block journalists from covering National Assembly proceedings over their mode of dressing and for alleged misreporting.

Lawmakers cannot impose a dress code on media practitioners or determine how they should do their work.

File complaints

Media houses have their own code of conduct and ethics. Whenever reporters err, MPs, or other people and institutions, can seek legal redress or file complaints against them with the respective media house or the Media Council of Kenya.

Besides, Parliament has orderlies at the gate who would not let in inappropriately dressed reporters. This is a tradition that has been adhered to by the media over the years.

The bad blood has apparently arisen following unflattering reports on the spending of millions of shillings on MPs’ seminars amid economic austerity.

The dress code demand seems to be just a ploy to lock media out of Parliament for doing their job to the MPs’ displeasure. MPs cannot tell the media what to report or not; it is not their job.

The media have a job to do: Report the truth while performing their watchdog role.


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