Professionalisation of journalism in Kenya

The vice-president of Kenya, Kalonzo Musyoka, has called for journalists to further formalise the existing Journalist Association of Kenya (JAK) into a body that could ‘develop a modern code of ethics’ for journalists in the country.

Self-regulation of journalism by professional bodies in Africa (like everywhere) is important, since it helps journalists reflect on their work, improve standards and can act as a deterrent for government interference by creating a power bloc of journalists that can resist outside pressures.  But professionalisation is a double-edged sword – it can also turn journalism into a members-only activity,  from which people practising alternative forms of journalism to the corporate mainstream are shut out. In Kenya, with its vibrant blogosphere, care should be taken that professionalisation of journalism does not become a form of organisational protection offered to elites only.

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