A research paper by Dr. Kioko Ireri, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, has been published in the current issue of African Journalism Studies – Africa’s leading journal in the field of journalism and mass communication. The paper – “Job Autonomy: How Kenyan Newspeople Perceive Their Journalistic Latitudes” – examines job autonomy in news selection decision, media freedom, media freedom-job autonomy relationship, and predictors of journalistic autonomy.
Findings show that over half (59%) of respondents believe that there is enough media freedom in Kenya. Similarly, there is a positive correlation between media freedom and journalistic autonomy—a relationship though moderate is statistically significant. While four in 10 Kenyan journalists have “some freedom” in deciding what to include in news, only 15.5% enjoy “almost complete freedom,” and 31.7% have “a great deal of freedom.”
When analysed by demographics and work-related variables, male journalists reported higher autonomy than their female colleagues. Older and more experienced journalists have more freedoms than those who are younger and limited in work experience. Journalists with advanced education (doctorate and MA degree holders), those employed on full-time basis, and high monthly earners enjoy more job autonomy. Kenyan journalists working for international media organizations reported far higher autonomy than those in the local media. Job satisfaction and job security emerged as the strongest predictors of journalistic autonomy in the Kenyan media.
The study is based on a national representative sample of 504 journalists drawn from 62 media outlets in Kenya. The research paper is one of the ten variables that Dr. Ireri examined in his Indiana University- Bloomington doctoral dissertation – “Constructing A Portrait of Kenyan Journalists In The 21st Century: Demographics, Job Satisfaction, Influences On News Values and Autonomy, And Standards of Journalism Training”. Five other paper papers have been published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Media Ethics, Journalism, Journalism Practice, and Journalism & Mass Communication Educator.
More than half of Kenyan journalists enjoy media freedom
- Written by Dan Muchai