Nairobi — Journalists have been hailed for resilience amid challenges that range from safety concerns to the global COVId-19 pandemic and a wave of fake news.
Speaking during the Media Council of Kenya's Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA), acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu noted that journalists deserve to be appreciated, for the role they have played in exposing social ills like society.
She, however, challenged journalists to guard their independence and resist attempts to be externally influenced, while reporting.
"It is a period during which we express appreciation for you the media for the importance of service and the role you play in our society," she said, "there is the need for all actors, public and private to support and strengthen a vibrant media."
More than 60 journalists from various media houses were recognized for excelling in their work.
Capital FM Senior Sports Reporter Timothy Olobulu was among the finalists in the sports category, for a story that was recently ranked position three in a continental award.
MCK Chairperson Maina Muiruri also acknowledged efforts by journalists to enhance professionalism among them the formation of groups like the newly launched Crime Journalists Association of Kenya (CJAK).
"Why we award these winners, it is because we want them to excel. We want them to be the best in where they practice. These days, we have journalists congregating together with identity. The other day we launched the Crime Journalists Association of Kenya. We are having journalists realizing they do better when they are specialised and we are here at the end of every year, to award you when you excel," he said.
"With the new digital age, competition has become harder for journalists. Journalists do better when they specialize. We congratulate those who have won, and AJEA will continue honoring your achievements," he said.
The Council's Chief Executive Officer David Omwoyo said the awards are meant to boost the morale of journalists, currently working under pressure and threats.
"We have 18 winners from an initial pool of 1,119. Judges have spent day and night to bring out the best. There is a lot of technological revolution and pandemic of fake news but during all this, we have seen high-quality pieces of journalism," Omwoyo said.