Ivy Murugi, Global Youth Representative, World Organization of the Scout Movement | Kenya
Ivy Murugi is the Global Youth Representative of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. She is experienced in Mental Health and Sexual Reproductive Health Advocacy working with Youth-Led and Youth-Serving organizations. Over the last 3 years, Ivy Murugi has served as the Team Lead for a Mental Health initiative dubbed Healing Invisible Wounds. Involved in resource mobilization & fundraising , program design and delivery as well as overall team coordination to meet set objectives in providing innovative solutions that promote the overall wellbeing and resilience of young people and communities. I am committed to ensuring individuals have access to advanced mental health care services, transforming the stigma narrative surrounding mental health and supporting integration of MHPSS into thematic areas such as Peacebuilding and Climate Action.
|Event Title: SDGs Conference 2023||Date: Sept 20, 2023|
I wanted to be a journalist when I was growing up and I do not know whether to be relieved that I did not become one but I love the resilience that individuals have. I represent a movement of 56 million young people from across the globe in the world’s largest youth contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. As a young person from Generation Z, I see endless opportunities in digital transformation that is happening around the globe. I recognize the importance of both social and mainstream media as a tool to connect people to foster dialogues, ignite change, and hold people accountable. The current media landscape is more diverse and the industry is attracting high levels of investment in capital in both mainstream and digital media platforms.
I pay tribute to the vocal and fearless men and women in the media who have had to lose their lives in the spirit of uncovering ills and telling stories of change. I also celebrate a million others, some of them in this panel who have the willingness to continue informing the world and telling personal stories of abusing people from across the globe. I believe that press freedom is an essential pillar of any democracy as it provides the platform for a multiplicity of voices to be heard at the national, regional, and local levels. Individuals working as public watchdogs, activists, and guardians are also educators, entertainers, and contemporary chroniclers. I have seen the media thrive and do their best in the context of both liberal and authoritarian regimes. I come from Kenya, we had our general elections very recently and the media did an amazing job in its reporting. Their coverage gave people the confidence to believe in the final tallies that were given, especially for the very tightly contested presidential seat.
However sadly, a few months down, one of the cabinet appointees of the current president made a full appearance on one of the media houses in Kenya who have been very brave in uncovering truths and telling stories without fear in two case scenarios. I’ll speak about one in one of them, he said, “XX Media Group, you must now decide where, whether you are a newspaper, a broadcasting house, a media house, or a political party. I have said from tomorrow, from today, even the government, any government department that is found placing an advertisement with the XX Media Group, should consider itself out of the government.” These are some of the media-captured intimidation lawsuits but I am more than sure that this is just one of the many existing situations in so many contexts with some having it more often than others from the statistics that we had.
The fundamental right to seek and disseminate information through an independent press is under attack, not just in Kenya but also in many other contexts. The threats have now taken new dimensions as they are publicly defended and even boldly justified by some of these perpetrators’ elected leaders who should be press freedoms. Despite the robust legislation, media freedoms have been constantly curtailed. Freedom of the press is a right that every entity in society must care about and commit to. Protecting press freedom can rebound from even lengthening the states of depression when given the opportunity. In this regard, there is a need for sustained conversations and multi-sectoral approaches to achieve a free press in all contexts.
I hope that the discussions today will help us spark actionable ways to be able to do this. Governments should not interfere with this freedom or censor media that are critical of state power. We need to safeguard press freedom and promote freedom of expression to ensure and facilitate global democracy and uphold the rule of law and human rights for all journalists. Please remember that people are more often than not going to take opinions as facts, but you are the remedy to set this right. Keep on fighting for the truth and holding those in power accountable. Be the watchdog that sheds light on wrongdoing, even in the wake of a shrinking media space. Keep giving accurate, fair, and unbiased information.