Journalists, Media Professionals, to Seek Fresh Accreditation in Kenya: Regulator Advices

Notice announcing new regulations for journalists and media practitioners seeking accreditation in Kenya

Journalists and media professionals intending to begin or continue their practice in Kenya have been advised to apply afresh for accreditation to the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), a government statutory body mandated to regulate the media in Kenya and the conduct and discipline of journalists operating in the East African country.

“All journalists, media practitioners and trainers are hereby advised to submit their applications for accreditation to avoid any inconveniences in the course of their work,” reads part of the MCK January 8 statement signed by the Chief Executive Officer, David Omwoyo.

The fresh accreditation involves “the issuance of a new smart Press Card, which will require the collection of biometric data, to enhance the security of the cards and verification of the holders,” MCK’s statement clarifies.

In the statement, the CEO explained, “These changes are in line with the MCK commitment to overhaul the accreditation process, and ensure that only bona fide journalists practice and are bound by the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya.”

The new accreditation, which “will be valid for one calendar year (1st January – 31st December) is mandatory and “invalidates all previous cards issued by the Media Council of Kenya,” the MCK statement reads.


The regulatory body further advises media organizations engaged in broadcast to note “that valid Media Council of Kenya accreditation will now be prerequisite for the renewal of their broadcast licenses by the Communications Authority of Kenya, effective from 1st July 2020.”

“Initially we were only accrediting journalists now we accredit all media professionals,” MCK CEO told ACI Africa Wednesday, January 8.

Asked if each applicant must present oneself in person to the Nairobi-based MCK bureau for accreditation, the CEO said that his organization can be invited to entities with at least a group of 20 applicants.

Omwoyo who previously headed the Communications department of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Kenya told ACI Africa that his organization expects an immediate response from journalists and media professionals operating in Kenya because of the “consequences of not being accredited in this risky environment.”

Views from journalists and media practitioners were sought last year ahead of the implementation of the new set of regulations.

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“We have received enormous complaints from both the public and some major media houses on the conduct of some people we have accredited to practice journalism. As a result, we have decided to tighten the loopholes,” Mr. Omwoyo was quoted as saying in October 2019.  

Kenyan journalists, freelancers, media practitioners and trainers are expected to pay KES.2,000 (US$20.00) for their accreditation. Foreign journalists practicing for a short term will pay KES.5,000.00 (US$50.00) while long-term foreign media practitioners will part with KES.10,000 (US$100.00). The accreditation fee for students is KES.300 (US$3.00).

Magdalene Kahiu contributed to this story

Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla is ACI Africa’s founding Editor-in-Chief. He was formed in the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans), and later incardinated in Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan. He has a PhD in Media Studies from Daystar University in Kenya, and a Master’s degree in Organizational Communication from Marist College, New York, USA.