Media Council of Kenya Board recruitment hits a snag

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication, and Digital Economy (ICT) Eliud Owalo has postponed the naming of shortlisted candidates for the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Board by fourteen (14) days.

Owalo gazetted the extension period for the positions of Chairperson and members of MCK by another two weeks.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by section 7 (13) of the Media Council Act, 2013, the ICT Cabinet Secretary extends the period for the publication of names and qualifications of all the applicants and shortlisted candidates for the position of Chairperson and Members of the Media Council of Kenya, by a further 14days."

The recruitment process of members of the MCK board has been a bone of contention, with some factions alleging a "conflict of interest."

On Thursday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court issued orders stopping the recruitment of the Board.

A petitioner challenging the process cited "conflict of interest" in the recruitment panel.

"That in the interim, the process of recruitment of chairperson and members of the Board of the Media Council of Kenya is hereby stayed," the order read in part.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Justin Muturi also moved to block media employees from sitting on the MCK Board, to secure its independence.

"That having an interest in a media house for whatever reason which might cause a potential conflict of interest situation in the functioning of the Media Council precludes a person from being the Chairperson or Member of the Council," the AG wrote in a letter.

Owalo had on January 26, unveiled a 13-member panel to select the new MCK board members.

The panel comprised of among others Macharia Gaitho (Kenya Editors Guild), Oscar Obonyo (Kenya Union of Journalists), William Oloo Janak (Kenya Correspondents Association and Marlene Achieng Abongo (Law Society of Kenya).