Kenyan Coalition Members trained on Media and Information Literacy for Digital Peace Building

The training, facilitated by Africa Centre for People Institutions and Society, brought together 25 representatives of the coalition from regulatory bodies, media associations, peace-building organisations, fact-checking organisations, tech associations/networks, and academia in Kenya.

During the workshop, Victor Bwire, Director of Media Training and Development at Media Council of Kenya, delivered a key note underscoring the important need to mainstream media and information literacy competencies in actions at national and county levels. Stressing that regulatory bodies cannot police people’s media consumption, he called on the coalition to synergise and focus efforts in mainstreaming media and information literacy in education and capacity building for self-regulation. This should include encouraging responsible usage of media content in both formal and informal settings.

He further indicated that UNESCO had supported the Council in drafting the National Media and Information Literacy policy for Kenya. The draft policy is now being reviewed, and is pending submission to Parliament in Kenya.

John Okande, Programme Officer, UNESCO, highlighted milestones that had been achieved in promoting of Media and Information Literacy competencies in Kenya. He emphasised the need for stakeholders within the coalition to mainstream and promote related competencies in digital peace-building to address harmful content, especially online disinformation and hate speech in Kenya.

Olive Metet, Deputy Director Corporate Communications at National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), stated that there has been a significant shift on how hate speech and disinformation is spread on digital platforms. He encouraged cooperation with the established coalition to formulate strategies to address this new challenge.

“There is a need for deliberate and strategic promotion of gender-responsive programming in peace building initiatives, particularly to address harmful content online in Kenya. This is key to building responsible, self-aware and peaceful societies.”

— Patience Nyange, Executive Director at Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK)

Dr. Charles Nyambuga, Senior Lecturer of Communication and Media at Maseno University, reminded the audience that democracy thrives on accurate information. Educating people to disseminate factual information is therefore crucial to safeguarding democracy, and should begin with mainstreaming media and information literacy (MIL) within teaching curriculum and practices in universities.

Participants were urged to be ambassadors in Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and to incorporate the gained competencies from the training into their daily activities and lives. Topics covered included: Key MIL competencies, open sourced tools for identifying and analysing online hate speech and disinformation, Kenya’s policy and regulatory landscape governing the digital space, modern training techniques and methodologies, effective learner engagement strategies among others.

“I’m thrilled to inform members that we have expanded the coalition with three new memberships: Paradigm Initiative (PIN), National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), and the National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management. These new additions come to bolster the coalition’s efforts and enhance its ability to achieve its set goals.”

— John Okande, Programme Officer, UNESCO

The workshop was organized under UNESCO EU-funded project Social Media 4 Peace in Kenya. The initiative seeks to strengthen the resilience of societies to potentially harmful content spread online, in particular hate speech inciting violence while protecting freedom of expression and enhancing the promotion of peace through digital technologies, notably social media.

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