On Sunday, Siaya Senator James Orengo banned the use of NMG products by Nasa supporters at a rally in Kibra. This came as a shock to NMG writers and reporters all over as they were covering the event there. They hurriedly returned to the offices and did not cover the Mathare rally Nasa had.
From there it became a game of playing power games. The media house turned into the vulnerable character in the whole story with them shutting the studios in Kisumu for fear of being attacked by NASA supporters. The shutdown is appropriate for the media house because no story is worth a journalist’s life.
This is not the first time a media house has been accused of taking sides with a political party. In fact this is not the only media hose in the world accused of taking sides. For example Fox News has been criticized for its inclination to the Republican Party in the US. This has been seen through its coverage of President Trump during campaign and during his tenure so far as president.
This is not the only media house that has come under fire also with media houses in Kenya such as KTN which during this year’s election were accused of being biased by supporters of Nasa after their coverage of Raila’s statement on the land question.
Vernacular stations have however been the worst in their election coverage. For every election vernacular radio stations have been covering the election in bad light. This is something that needs to be looked into by the Media Council of Kenya and revoke licenses of some of these vernacular stations which are notorious in their message.
Stories that have angered Nasa
Overall, Nasa has been on the receiving end of exposes and negative stories by NMG and have been highlighted in a bad light. For instance, they have been on the case of one of their financiers, Jimi Wanjigi. They ran a string of stories a few months to the election. The exposes came at a time when Nasa was about to launch its manifesto and on the day Jubilee was to unveil their own manifesto.
Another story that caught my eye is that of the Nasa declaration of the results and the front page coverage terming it as “doom”. This story which showed the NASA coalition as trying to be the election system was right but it did not rub them in the right way.
Jubilee has also been on the receiving end of Daily Nation stories. From the coverage of the attendance of Principal Secretaries at their fundraiser which was unlawful. This story led to the arrest of Walter Menya. He was arraigned in court but after a few days he was released and the story has never been highlighted ever. These two instances show that politicians will only agree with you when the facts count.
It is high time that media houses checked their editorial policies. Though they have established formidable news desks for the elections they need to make formidable teams of editors who will be able to go through the headlines affecting political parties and scrutinize them more carefully.