Media coverage of parliamentary proceedings will go live in six months after Kenyan National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende announced here Friday the formation of a parliamentary live broadcast committee to study ways of executing real-time transmission of house business before the end of this year.
Speaking during discussions with senior officials of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Media Owners Association MOA) and managers, Marende said live transmission of parliamentary proceedings was long overdue and would enable the public understand and provide inputs into key policies issues.
He said parliamentary staff had been hired in readiness for the changes.
“I wish to report to you that internally we have put everything on course to ensure that success of this project,” Mr. Marende said.
He added, “The committee will oversee the implementation of live broadcasts project. The committee has been tasked to ensure live radio broadcast within six months and 12 months for television.”
Responding, the permanent secretary in the Information and Broadcasting ministry, Dr. Bitange Ndemo, said the government would back the project.
“We are prepared to dedicate a digital channel to parliament if media owners are willing to work with us,” Dr. Ndemo said, adding that live broadcasts would inject discipline in the lawmakers.
“It would ensure that what comes out of their mouths is indeed what makes sense. Previously, we have had problems with MPs who make (irresponsible) statements and with the advent of getting live broadcasts from parliament they will be more responsible,” He said.
He was positive that “Kenyans will also get to know what is happening in terms of governance. I’m sure when we begin live broadcasts the levels of governance would move up.”
Dr. Ndeno said the shift in coverage of house activities would disabuse the public of the perception that parliamentarians were special people.
He said the move would also enable the electorate make informed judgments of the performance of their MPs and the national assembly, which in the court of public opinion parliament is a den for layabouts.
Kenyan MPs work for only two days a week and even that, the house suffers from chronic lack of quorum to pass important bills into law. Panapress.