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Launch of COVID-19 information portal for media professionals in Kenya

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Launch of COVID-19 information portal for media professionals in Kenya

Launch of COVID-19 information portal for media professionals is a timely initiative

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 11, 2021 / APO Group / –

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation / misinformation, misinformation, myths and hate speech have increased, spreading even faster than the virus itself across various platforms. To address this emerging threat, UNESCO has partnered with the Kenya Media Council to develop a national COVID-19 information portal for media professionals.

Launched on October 4, 2021, this initiative, part of the UNESCO-European Union funded project #CoronavirusFacts to fight against “deinfodemia” on COVID-19 is designed to serve as a one-stop-shop for media professionals and the public to access factual, credible, and authentic information on the pandemic and other related issues in a timely manner.

The development of this platform is a major step led by the Kenya Media Council to promote access to information as a public good, a vital step in this time of pandemic, as it encourages and promotes journalism responsible and professional, facilitating access and sharing. reliable information and anti-disinformation / disinformation based on government publications, documents and reports and statistics on the pandemic in Kenya.

During his opening speech, the Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health, recalled misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and false reports that vaccines do not work: “The launch of the COVID-19 information portal for media professionals is a timely initiative. This will ensure the provision of timely, factual and accurate information to the public and expand the scope and quality of pandemic coverage. “

He further commended UNESCO for its continued support to the media sector, recalling that this pandemic requires well-coordinated public communication with factual, authentic and credible information that will inspire and instill the discipline to face and counter it in our communities. local communities.

Hon. Joe Mucheru, Kenya Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth, hailed the development and launch of a COVID-19 information portal for media professionals as timely to address the many challenges associated with to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The development of this information portal is a step towards enabling the provision of credible information on the pandemic in Kenya. False information has resulted in loss of life and destroyed livelihoods. It also caused reluctance to be vaccinated. He echoed.

He further said that the role of the media as a watchdog of society and a source of factual, verifiable and authentic information is essential at this time. As a result, reporting and media coverage of the pandemic raised awareness, resulting in positive behavior change and subsequent reduction in infection rates in the country.

Mr. David Omwoyo, Director General of the Kenya Media Council thanked UNESCO for its continued support to the Kenya Media Council and praised the platform as a capacity building and networking tool: “This Information portal that we are launching today will serve as an essential tool and a means of building the capacity of media professionals and will also provide networking opportunities between journalists and key players in the health sector.

Professor Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for East Africa, reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to promote access to information as a fundamental human right and to continue to support the media sector and civil society organizations to tackle disinformation / disinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya. “Access to information alone is not enough. Beyond simple access to information, we need information that is verified, relevant and reliable, but also available in languages ​​and formats that people understand. This is why we are particularly excited about this COVID-19 online clearinghouse, which will also provide localized information to different audiences in English and Kiswahili. We hope this will be extended to other local languages ​​spoken in Kenya, including Braille and Sign Language – remember, we have promised to leave no one behind. He said.

It further amplified UNESCO’s advocacy role, with its partners, to promote access to information as a public good, essential for better progress. In this regard, he shared a quote from the Message of the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay, on the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (September 28).

“At UNESCO, we firmly believe that access to information must be recognized as a pillar of sustainable development, and as a precondition for the promotion and protection of all human rights”, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

About the #CoronavirusFacts project:

Based on the central premise that information is the opposite of disinformation, UNESCO’s #CoronavirusFacts project leverages the central role of freedom of expression and access to information to meet the needs of information in times of COVID-19 and to fight the massive wave of disinformation that threatens democracy, sustainable development and stability around the world. Funded by the European Union, the project supports the capacity of professional, diverse and independent media to report on the pandemic; strengthen local fact-checking organizations to demystify disinformation; and enables young people and other citizens to critically process what they read and hear related to COVID-19 through training in media and information literacy.

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