By Abdikadir Sugow
NAIROBI, KENYA: Standard Group journalists scooped most of the media awards presented on Friday night to coincide with this year’s World press freedom day.
The annual journalism excellence awards organized by the Media Council of Kenya identify, acknowledge, inspire, support and promote media excellence in the country.
The award categories include Information and Communication Technologies, gender, environment, sports, tourism, arts and culture, television, photography, cartoonist, business, good governance and health.
Nyambega Gisesa, a reporter with The Standard newspaper won five trophies including the overall journalist of the year award. Other categories he scooped were journalist of the year (print), young journalist of the year (print), business and good governance reporting awards.
Other reporters from Standard who won were Jevans Nyabiage (Business Category), Brigitte Chemweno (gender print), Angel Katusia (gender broadcast), Grace Wekesa (art and culture), Thomas Mukoya scooped the photographer of the year and Michael Munene won the cartoonist of the year.
Asha Mwilu and Denis Onsarigo both won journalist of the year in broadcast category while Mashirima Kapombe won the young journalist of the year also in broadcast.
Standard Media Group Chief Executive Officer, Sam Shollei, congratulated the winners of the Media Council of Kenya’s Annul Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA).
Out of the 618 entries for this year awards, 39 were won including a life time award which went to the retired journalist, Hillary Ng'weno. A colleague, Joe Kadhi was present to collect the award on his behalf.
Present at the colorful event were Shollei, the Constitution Implementation Commission (CIC) chairman, Charles Nyachae, Media Council of Kenya chairman, Joseph Odindo, UNDP Country Director, Maria Threase amongst others.
Nyachae said the media’s oversight role is critical in ensuring the Constitution of Kenya 2010 is fully implemented.
He said journalists should inculcate the culture of constitutionalism, and always be watchdog of the society as the country look ahead to implement crucial laws particularly the devolution system of governance.
He commended the media for handling itself well in covering the just concluded General Election and above all remaining in the for front to defend the process of implementing the constitution.
He said the media has been keeping checks on both the Legislative and the Executive arms of government not to mutilate the constitution through unpopular bills. He urged the media to be more vigilant on implementation of devolution which is key to success of the 2010 constitution.
Nyachae asked the Minister of Information to fast track all media bills so that his commission can polish and forward the same to the Attorney General for present to the national assembly where it will be enacted as laws before the stipulated deadline of August 2013.
He said the media bill which was withdrawn during last Parliament after public outcry should now be brought back, together with freedom of information bill and data protection bills.
He said the media should reflect on the gains made from the new constitution particularly the laws touching the media, saying any affront to the press freedom will be things of the past.
The Media Council of Kenya has been running an annual awards and regional convention for journalist since last year to coincide with the World Press Freedom Day celebrations.