Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has revealed that joint media tallying of the 2022 General Election results proved futile.
Through a preliminary report, titled “Hits and Misses: Media Performance and Press Freedom Violations Pre, During and Post the August 9 General Election in Kenya”, MCK Chairman David Omwoyo stated that the Editors Guild and Media Owners had both agreed on joint tallying in a manner similar to that utilised in the Presidential Debates.
According to MCK, the early assessment on the media coverage showed that the negotiations began too late in the day, when individual media houses had already deployed internal plans.
“All the results displayed by media houses were accurate and only sourced from the IEBC portal. However, because different media houses started counting at different times, others counted in descending order, others in alphabetical order, while some media houses employed more personnel than others and results displayed at any one time were not the same,” read the statement by Omwoyo.
Despite efforts to spread media people across the nation, the council acknowledged that the unexpected release of the IEBC forms 34A on the internet was unprecedented and took many newsrooms off guard.
Omwoyo pointed out that media stakeholders decided to halt the results’ display since the numbers published by various media outlets were causing superfluous concern.
In contrast to previous elections, the Council applauded the media for their professional and responsible coverage of the 2022 General Election.
However, MCK praised the media overall for its responsible and professional coverage of the 2022 General Election.
In comparison to prior elections, the Council stated that media preparation and poll coverage were satisfactory.
Over 11,000 local and foreign journalists and media professionals were granted accreditation
by the council to cover the elections nationwide.
“In the run-up to the polls, the Council trained over 3,500 journalists and media workers on elections coverage, reporting on opinion polls and ethical principles,” Omwoyo stated.
However, Omwoyo pointed out that various instances of press freedom breaches, including profiling of journalists and media outlets, online harassment of journalists and media outlets, and occasionally physical attacks on journalists, were experienced during coverage of the 2022 elections.
In 12 incidents that the Council documented, at least 43 journalists from different media outlets were subjected to various forms of harassment.
MCK has pleaded with the police to move on with their inquiries and apprehend the offenders.
The spread of propaganda and false information, particularly on digital platforms, during the elections and afterwards, is noted by the Council as a concern for information integrity.