A new media platform dedicated to providing support and resources to boost capacity and financial sustainability of journalism in Kenya in a time of digital disruption has been launched.
Baraza Media Lab aims to be a collaborative workspace that will bring together journalists, filmmakers, artists, activists, authors, bloggers and technologists to redefine how stories in print, radio and television are told.
The initiative is funded by Luminate, which has partnered with Metta, a local platform that has been building professional communities through constructive discourse.
Speaking during the launch, the curator of the lab, Ms Christine Mungai, said it will promote the success of independent media through collaboration, innovation and re-skilling.
"The lab will offer training sessions where members will work with content creators in journalism, theatre, visual arts and photography and connect them with financiers to test new media business models," she said. In a period of declining media revenues, divisive politics, low public trust and media independence under threat, the platform seeks to devise new models that work for the benefit of media content consumers and media owners.
"We are witnessing social pressures from the political and business realms that come with divisive messaging, and these have harmed the creativity and freedom of thought needed in newsrooms," said Ms Ory Okolloh, Luminate's Africa managing director.
Metta's Nairobi general manager Mr Maurice Otieno said it is time for a sound community of curious, fearless and credible players to stand up against media censorship and barriers of transparency.
"This will enable the media to tell diverse stories and expose economic, social and political ills without fear or favour. We will tap into Metta's experience in building communities and ultimately, this will win us trust in the media landscape," he remarked.
The lab will be the first out of the 18 countries under the umbrella of Luminate's objective of empowering societies for a fair and just life.
Veteran journalist Uduak Amimo reminded newsrooms in the world that the ills they investigate in the econo-political scene also happen in their offices under their watch, and Baraza Media Lab will help to address them. The first event of the lab will be on December 17 where stories by Kenyan journalists that marked the year will be recognised.