Corrupt media: is brown envelope journalism causing problems?

Publication2I once talked about the spread of brown envelope journalism in Kenya during my review of Cheche. However, the problem still continues in many media houses.

A report done by Pen Paper Communications confirms the rate of corruption in the Kenyan Media to be 74%. This is by the far one of the most mistrusted institutions in the country, if you ask me.

The root of brown envelope journalism is editors and fellow writers who have been in the industry earlier.

The report says 46% of journalists learnt the art of corruption by source-journalist relationship.  Twenty percent learnt it from older generations.

When asked about this issue from some journalists, 77% of them agreed that objectivity was affected because of brown envelope journalism was affecting the newsroom.

The people who are considered to make these payments to journalists can be grouped into two: politicians and businessmen. They are the groups that are willing to pay journalists to do stories about them.

The cause of this, however, stops with training editors. Common practice in newsrooms is for editors to train journalist before they come into the news room. In an interview, Mr Charles Kerich, the former editor-in-chief at The Star talked about the need for training editors not to just teach about grammar but also objectivity and ethics in the newsroom.

At rate with which journalists are accused of being one-sided or partisan, there is need for proper stories from the section that is expected to be the public watchdog on behalf of the people. This is why the office of public editors needs to be retained.


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