The Zetech University auditorium was alive with heated debate following a gathering of university media students eager to deliberate on topical issues ailing the media industry in Kenya and the African continent. The full day debate, hosted by the Zetech Media department was structured to awaken minds of the young people to the challenges currently crippling the sector and to generate effective solutions for these problems.
Excited to assemble young but learned minds in a room to map out what the youth can do to make a different in the media sector, the Zetech Journalism Club led by their Patron Rawlings Nyangau and Club Chair John Teketi, managed to host the University of Nairobi (UoN), Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (JKUAT) and Mount Kenya University (MKU).
Discussing the state of media and the processes that may need to change, the students discussed the question of authentic news reporting against commercial purposes influencing space and airtime.
One student argued that media houses is focused on securing monies through advertisements as that is how the businesses survive while others disputed this, stating that media houses are working hard to balance between commercial gains and reporting of factual stories.
The discussion, led by a panel that consisted of a student leader from each of the varsities present and Police Officer Godwin Kwach, shifted to the role of young people in the country and the available leadership opportunities. Justice, from JKUAT, emotionally shared that according to him, there is no actual youthful representation in the political scene and that the constitution is not favourable for positive growth,
“I do not think we are fairly represented as young people in the political arena, why can’t we get a great young person to back up? Do we not trust ourselves?” he posed to his fellow comrades.
Officer Godwin Kwach, who works in the PR Office at Vigilance House, encouraged the young people to take ownership of the country by sharing positive stories about the country and the continent, as opposed to focusing on negative stories.
In the afternoon session, which was characterised by a switch up the panel to host four ladies from each university, the students delved into a heated debate on gender issues in the Kenyan media, with some arguing that women get extra attention and that is why the boy child in the country is being forgotten.
Some learners felt that women are more capable to communicate while others believed the female appeal plays a key role in the increased number of women in the TV section of local media.
Commending the learners for arguing using facts and obvious passion, Dr. Thuo, a Lecturer at the UoN School of Journalism, shared that she was proud of the forum and confidence displayed by the media trainees,
“This has been a powerful session and I am proud to have seen young people gather to discuss matters media; I delight in practitioners who value integrity and are ready to tell the story as it is,” Dr. Thuo remarked, as she saluted the Zetech media team for creating the event.
On his part, Shadrach Ngao, who heads the media department at Zetech, was impressed by the commitment shown by the journalism club to ensure the initiative was a success, “it is inspiring to see our students pull together future media experts and openly discuss challenges facing the industry. I am proud of our students for leading this forum.”
Many more topics were handled in the memorable forum that consisted of charismatic students zealous about the progress of the country, through the powerful tool that is media.
As noted by the varsity VC Prof. Edwin Wamukoya during his opening of the session, the institution is keen on grooming future media practitioners who will stand for the truth and practice with integrity, to ensure a better, country, continent and world.
A special thank you to the Zetech Journalism club, led by John Teketi and Mwangi Maina for organising the session and to UoN, JKUAT and MKU students for taking time to participate.