Journalists seeking elective seats in the August General Election are now required to resign by April 9 to pursue their political ambitions.
The order has been issued by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director-General Ezra Chiloba.
The CA boss, in a statement to newsrooms, also directed media houses to send all journalists involved in campaign activities on leave for the entire election period or terminate their contracts.
“If a person working on programmes for a station becomes a candidate or is employed or retained in any capacity by a political aspirant or a political party, he/she shall go on leave for the duration of the election period or his employment may be terminated by the station,” said Chiloba.
“Therefore, the authority requires broadcasting licensees to ensure that aspiring candidates associated with or employed by their stations take the required leave of office by April 9, 2022, as gazetted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).”
Chiloba urged media houses to be objective in their reporting to avoid misinformation.
“Guard against transmission of fake news or misleading information during the electioneering period,” he added.
“Part IV (22) of the Broadcasting Regulations requires that you ensure that broadcasts from your station are based on fact and are not founded on opinion, rumour supposition or allegation and that you adhere strictly to your professional standards.”
Some media houses have already asked their staffers eyeing political seats in the forthcoming elections to step down.
Last month, Royal Media Services (RMS) directed the affected journalists to tender their resignations by March 1.
“In line with the company’s culture and practice, any employee wishing to contest in any elective position must tender his/her resignation from employment before 1st March 2022,” the company media Wachira Waruru said in a memo to all members of staff.
“If you need any further clarification on this matter, consult your Head of Department or the Human Resources Office.”
The directive is aimed at averting a possible conflict of interest in election coverage.
Besides the private sector, a number of civil servants including Cabinet Secretaries are expected to step down by February 9 to launch their political bids.
The Kenyan law requires all public servants seeking elective positions to resign six months to a General Election.