- Baringo journalists have been challenged to do more in terms of covering Baringo County issues, successes, and challenges.
- The Association has guidance on membership and is looking forward to registering all the journalists interested from Baringo County.
- The Association’s Chairperson is Timothy Chepsoi, a Kass FM journalist, assisted by the Vice Chairperson Alex Muindi, a journalist at Touch Media, and the Treasurer is Joshua Chesire, a journalist with The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
Baringo journalists have, for a long time, been locked out of Media awards and Galas, rarely recognized like the rest of the journalists in Kenya.
The main awards always go to the known journalists in major media houses, but even one from Baringo, despite their hard work, has not been heard of.
Fortunately, the Baringo Journalists Association is here, a break to local journalists and a morale booster to the journalists’ work in covering stories to try and shape up the society in an environment where cultural forces and norms are tough to break for a positive change.
During the launch of the Association on November 24, 2023, Baringo journalists have been challenged to do more in terms of covering Baringo County issues, successes, and challenges.
Launching the Baringo Journalist Association (BJA) today in the Rift Valley Hills Resort Kabarnet Sub County, Baringo’s Senator William Cheptumo has given his sentiments to the professions in the Journalism field to do more in highlighting Baringo’s success.
‘’The freedom of the press is not important to democracy; it is democracy itself,’’ says Baringo Senator William Cheptumo.
Cheptumo has come out guns blazing on the issues of Baringo journalists’ harassment in reference to a previous incident where a journalist was allegedly arrested.
He promised that that was the last incident and they should never witness that again. However, he insisted on reporting news objectively.
The journalists have been urged to look deeply into the constitution, the Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation Act and crucial laws so that, when highlighting their stories, they can be creative and come forward with laws that journalists feel need to be amended.
With a purpose
The purpose of the Baringo Journalists Association is to think, collaborate and work as a team. This is like a body that will help the Baringo journalists advocate for their rights collectively.
The public has been urged to differentiate between freedom of speech, which applies to everyone, including journalists, and freedom of the press, which applies to the media, who work under a code.
The Women Representative Baringo County, Florence Jematia, in her speech, said that they look forward to see leaders being highlighted in different platforms.
She emphasized how important Baringo is in leadership, given that the county is home to the second president of Kenya, the late Daniel Moi, and his stories need to be remembered.
During the launch, journalists and leaders discussed how to understand the career that always constitutes sacrifices, especially with Baringo County being a security-threatened region and yet journalists keep the world highlighted.
Baringo County has journalists serving in different media houses, some being children of Baringo and some from other counties.
Senator Cheptumo has also promised to have a Gala for the local journalists, celebrating their efforts and milestones covered.
The launch empowers Baringo’s journalists’ voice even more through the various stories they do exposing defilement, rape, sodomy, child abuse, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, forced child marriages, health issues, political coverage, feature stories, and so much more.
Baringo has positive unearthed stories: the vast beauty of Baringo County, the cultural diversity, the source of uncelebrated athletic legends like Paul Tergat, the home of the only lake with hot springs in Lake Bogoria in Loboi, and so much.
In the past, Baringo residents have always felt misrepresented in terms of security issues.
A diverse field
Baringo is now a step further in terms of media freedom and freedom of expression. The county has various celebrated journalists who have served it and the country for decades.
The journalism field is vast and diverse, as each upcoming journalist has an angle to cover. Baringo County Governor has urged journalists to sell the good and beautiful, being candid and honest to themselves.
The media has been mandated to enlighten what is happening in Baringo, in business, peace and progress that will benefit the County. Unity has been the key topic, the leaders being urged to work together.
The Civil Society in Baringo, represented by Chief Executive Officer, Paul Masese, has asked journalists to pursue equity, fairness and social justice.
He said that resources are scarce in Baringo County and asked the Baringo government to utilize the resources in consideration.
Part of civil society
Masese says that over the years, media journalists have appeared to not be part of the civil society, which they are. Now that they are getting organized, the house is becoming larger.
He has termed the media as the main custodians of devolution, quoting Article 174 of the Constitution, which focuses on how we govern ourselves and bring everyone on board.
Masese says in the 21st century, attaching the insecurity in Baringo to culture is unacceptable. He says the energy and creativity of the youth have to be challenged.
Boresha Sacco, represented by its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jacob Mengich, termed the media a tool that educates, informs and allows for accountability.
Its freedom and independence play a crucial role in any society. The Sacco supported the need for the media to have space to work but not use the freedom as a space for destruction.
Mengich has applauded the media for its growth. He pledged support for the move to launch the Association, urging the journalists to embrace a saving culture through the Sacco.
The leaders in the county government of Baringo have promised to support the Association.
They have asked everyone to respect the media and not subject them to harassment. The journalism position is a powerful platform that challenges even the government; without them, there will be no progress.
The leaders have applauded journalists for unearthing information on gender-based violence that has grown roots in Baringo.
Through the launch, the journalists have been given the support to go ahead and uncover vices against the weak in society.
The launch of the Association and its continued existence challenges the leaders to consider journalists in different positions of government leadership.
The political leaders have challenged the Association’s leaders to bring out the best in the Association by bringing out leaders to join the county government leadership.
The leaders have come to the rescue of the journalists’ salary, saying the money they receive is very little and yet they have families to support.
Baringo Journalists Association has been registered legally under the Societies and Association Laws of Kenya.
The Association’s Chairperson is Timothy Chepsoi, a Kass FM journalist, assisted by the Vice Chairperson Alex Muindi, a journalist at Touch Media, and the Treasurer is Joshua Chesire, a journalist with The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
The Association has guidance on membership and is looking forward to registering all the journalists interested from Baringo County.
In Kenya, The Media Council Of Kenya (MCK) is an independent national institution established by the Media Act of 2007 that regulates the conduct and discipline of journalists.
It also registers and accredits journalists, registers media houses, handles complaints from the public and journalists, and always checks on Media Freedom in Kenya.
Like the Media Council of Kenya Vision and Mission, Baringo`s Journalists Association looks forward to respecting media freedom and upholding and protecting media practitioners professionally and responsibly.
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The breakfast launch was graced by various Baringo County leaders, the civil society in Baringo, the business community, the corporate community, elders, and some residents of Baringo County.