KENYA: Bishop Obanyi Warns Journalists of Armchair Journalism


KAKAMEGA, MAY 7, 2021(CISA)-Bishop Joseph Obanyi Sagwe, chairman of the Social Communications Commission of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has encouraged journalists to go out of the news rooms to gather and relay information that is verified and true.

“Pope Francis warns of the danger of modern reporting. At times because we have gadgets, computers. We can access internet, the web. There is a danger of collecting our information from our computer where we are seated. And the danger is becoming even greater now when we are being told stay at home and work from home…Let us harness modern technology to motivate us to go out and discover…Help us encounter the reality of the world. Pope Francis says, we must hit the streets,” he said.

Speaking May 7 while offering Mass for the commemoration of the  55th World Communication Day at St. Joseph Cathedral, Kakamega, the bishop noted that the theme of the celebration “Come and see” encourages communicators to go the source of the of news, encounter it and bring it to the masses.

Appreciating the communicators for their courage, he emphasized that the significance of communication agents cannot be ignored and that in many cases, communicators put themselves in harm’s way in a bid to bring information to the masses.

“Since last year, we have been faced with the challenge of Covid-19. We would not have known about everything that has been going on had it not been for those who sacrifice themselves to bring us the information…I have come to realize that many journalists contracted Covid-19 while on the line of duty. They put themselves in harm’s way to bring us news,” he said.

“We want to thank the courage of journalists. We get to know many things. We get to know the stories of life. We have known the situation of the pandemic, we know the situation of the poor. How many people are we hearing who are hungry? This we get from the courage of the journalists. We get access to those who are suffering…we need information that helps us elevate our people’s lives,” he said.

Bishop Obanyi encouraged journalists to help with sensitizing the world on the need to avail Covid-19 vaccines to the poor countries.

“The lack of vaccines in poor nations, and this is what Pope Francis is insisting on. The information that we also need is where the communicators are able to urge the world to make available the vaccines for even the poor…Vaccines are good but let them not be produced only for the rich and those who can afford,” he urged.

He also noted that communicators ought to be responsible with the information they relay and refrain from spreading propaganda.

“Beware as communicators of media propaganda… We are not ministers of misinformation. All of us are responsible for the communications we make,” he said.