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Why editors, journalists have snubbed awards sponsored by Kenya Pipeline

The Kenya Editors Guild and Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) have turned down an invitation by Kenya Pipeline Company to be part of a journalists awards gala slated for Wednesday.

The two bodies raised integrity concerns on the company’s operations and termed the festival as “an affront to independent journalism in Kenya.”

Kenya Pipeline had sent invitations to the two bodies to attend the Energy Journalism Excellence Awards (EJEA 2019).

In their responses, KUJ and the Editors Guild indicated they would not take part in the event

“The Executive Council of the Guild wishes to register its concern that the EJEA awards as currently structured can be deemed to be an affront on independent journalism in Kenya,” a letter from the Guild’s chief executive Rosalia Omungo stated.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

“The awards as planned seeks to put journalists in a situation where they are to be celebrated by subjects of their coverage, all in the claim of rewarding excellence. Naturally, this constitutes a major conflict of interest, a grave matter for editors in particular and the larger fraternity of free media,” she added.

The KUJ, its response, questioned the integrity of the companies that have sponsored the awards.

“We wish to disassociate ourselves from the awards because we believe the awards lack integrity. We are aware that some of the companies who have sponsored these awards have either been investigated or are being investigated over corruption and cannot stand the test of integrity that the media fraternity as the watchdog would like to associate with,” KUJ Secretary General Erick Oduor said.