Radio stations warned over hate speech

Isiolo County IEBC Returning Officer Samuel Seki during a past meeting in Isiolo town. He has warned radio stations in Isiolo against hosting reckless politicians as that could spew hate and discord.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Nation Media Group

Local FM radio stations have been asked to avoid hosting leaders who make inflammatory remarks.

To avoid propagating animosity and disrupting peace, the stations, which broadcast in local dialects, must be sensitive and not be used as conveyor belts for hate speech, said Isiolo County IEBC returning officer Samuel Seki.

“I appeal to local radio stations as well as mainstream media to preach peace before, during and after elections because there is life after elections,” Mr Seki said during a training workshop for journalists organised by the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties in Isiolo town.

Journalists from Isiolo and Meru counties were trained on safety during elections and fair coverage of all candidates, with a focus on special-interest groups.

Mr Seki said presenters must also be keen not to air divisive content from callers.

Broadcasting in local dialects, the stations are sometimes blamed for allowing politicians to spew hate speech and sow seeds of discord among local communities.

Isiolo was among the counties recently put on alert over possible election-related violence by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, though the local security team insists there is no cause for alarm.

Mr Seki said his office would work with local journalists to ensure smooth elections.

NCIC chair Samuel Kobia last month said vernacular radio stations were being monitored to prevent them from broadcasting inflammatory statements that could spark violence.

“The station management will be held liable in the event inflammatory statements are broadcast on the radio stations,” Dr Kobia said, warning of a crackdown on online hatemongers.

Isiolo sub-county Deputy County Commissioner Kepha Marube said the security team had put in place adequate measures to ensure peace during the polls.
 

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