Speaking on 2013 World Press Freedom Day, Kenyatta noted that developments in ICT have helped reach a wider audience and take society to previously unimaginable levels.
“Thanks to developments in ICT, for instance, text messaging and social media have enabled the diffusion of vital information to reach the widest number of people in near real time. It has enabled the emergence of new ways to communicate, to share information and knowledge, and for people to widen their sense of participation, identity and belonging,” he said.
He added the increased freedom of the press, including online media, had contributed to the upsurge in foreign direct investment in some countries, while also pointing out the government was working on media-related bills, including the Media Bill, Data Protection Bill, Access to Information Bill and Communications Commission of Kenya Bill as provided for by the Kenya Constitution 2010 Articles 33 to 35.
The president has however cautioned on the misuse of new and emerging media, especially social media, stating there must be a sense of responsibility and fairness.
“Our rights and freedoms must be tempered by respect for the rights of others as well as commitment to fairness and impartiality,” he said.
“This sense of responsibility must extend to the social media which must be seen as a powerful tool of a new digital economy rather than a platform for propagating sectarianism and other social ills.”
The international media was asked to portray the continent in a positive spirit and shake off their “Afro-pessimism”.