Media Council unveils press card verification system targeting rogue journalists

The Media Council of Kenya has launched a mobile system to expose rogue journalists in its efforts to promote professionalism in the media industry.

With the new system, one can easily establish the status of any journalist accredited by the Council through a mobile phone thus stop cases of impersonation and bribery.

There have been numerous complaints of people soliciting money in the name of journalists. On many occasions unscrupulous individuals have taken advantage of the situation to harass and get money and other favours from the public.

All you need to get full details of a journalist is sending a text message with the accreditation number of the journalist which is found below the barcode on the front part of the press card to 0715000111.

You will then receive the journalist’s details including the name, media house, position, ID number and the press card’s date of expiry.

Launching the new system at Aga Khan University Graduate school of Media, Arthur Okwemba, Treasurer, Kenya Editors Guild said the number will help root out fake journalists from the system.

“The launch of this number (0715000111) is extremely important for the media industry as it will help differentiate between genuine and fake journalists,

He also urged public to cross check with the system in case they encounter journalists who demand for bribes in their line of duty.

“If a journalist asks for money from you just note the press card number, retrieve his details then pick it up with the media council and his or her supervisors,” said Mr. Okwemba.

Media Council of Kenya Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Haron Mwangi also added that the new number will help differentiate between quack and genuine journalists in the market.

“We have so many media workers who are not accredited by the Media Council or who are not trained nor working for any media house… we need to isolate culprits who spoil the good name of journalism,” said Dr. Haron.

To seal loopholes in the accreditation system, the Council has been cleaning its database of registered journalists in conjunction with media stakeholders.

So far the Council has accredited over 5000 journalists. Out of these, only 2500 are active meaning the rest have either opted out of the industry or are yet to renew their press cards.

Journalists are required by law to renew press cards annually. Local journalists pay Kshs 2,000, foreign journalists, Kshs 5,000 and student Kshs 300. To replace a lost press card one pays Kshs 300.

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