Media watchdog rolls out plans to weed out quacks

MCK chief executive David Omwoyo. MCK is rolling out strategies to weed out impostors. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) is rolling out strategies to weed out impostors in the media industry.

The plan includes coming up with foolproof accreditation for journalists and freelancers.

Also to be implemented is forging close working relationship with media houses, associations, hotels, public relations associations, politicians, the Judiciary and the police.

MCK chief executive David Omwoyo announced the Council would from next week recall the 2,400 accreditation cards issued to deal with fraud and extortion.

He said that press cards with new designs and smart features would be issued.

Omwoyo said the one-month exercise targets 8,000 media practitioners.

"The features will include a QR and bar codes to distinguish genuine from fake cards and we shall instal their respective readers at hotel entrants for authentication," he said.

He said journalists with accredited cards will have them replaced for free with ones the new ones.

"The cards for mainstream media houses will also have the logos of the company the journalist works for and when the scribe exits the company, he or she leaves the card there," said Omwoyo.

Omwoyo, who spoke during a media breakfast, said they had received 25 complaints of persons masquerading as journalists since January.

The complaints included extortion, injuries and theft.