How the media has been curtailed by the government

Publication2Though the media has been criticized for being biased there has been an attempted plot by the government to curtail the media houses and making them starve out.

The government recently put up the Government Advertising Agency in 2015. This was after the government put up the agency in order to make sure provide information that is government friendly after the media did not run any good story about it in a long time.

In a memo dated February 8th, 2017the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua directed all communication departments to run all government advertisements through My Gov. Failure to go through with that move would guarantee be met with stringent measures such as bearing costs of the advertisements presented.

The adverts which are produced by the Kenya News Agency, the group of journalists are considered government friendly. The content packaged in the magazine is not subjected to any editing by the media houses. There media has been subjected to circulate information which has not been subjected to any fact checking and thus may end up printing work that lacks any truthfulness in it.

This however does not affect the printing sector only but also TV and online space. The introduction of the Delivery unit with an online portal is another place that nonfactual information can be presented. The media were even given advertisements to run a few months before the elections. The advertisements were not even in compliance with the law as they contravened the Election Offences Act which forbids the government from printing or publishing any of its achievements.

The media however continued to run the adverts on prime time and went ahead to do this until a court ruling ordered the ban of the advertisements. The advertisements which are a supposed to rake in money for the media might still be finding it hard to find the money.

For instance the Nation Media Group recently hired a debt collector to collect 155 million which is owed by the government to the media house. When confronted about the debt the Kenya News Agency blamed the treasury for not releasing funds to cater for the debts which has accumulated to about 800 million.  (This is the figure for the closing year 2015/16)

The money which has not been released is considered as a way of punishing media stations for not publishing articles which are not in praise of the administration. In one of his column pieces Larry Madowo explains that this theory. The report done by the Pen Paper Communications affirms this narrative that he presents.

The media has been on the last few years been on the bad sides of the political divide this even led to the NASA team to ban its supporters from viewing NTV and an online campaign against KTN for being biased against NASA supporters.

It is high time that the media brace up for a storm because no political divide will ever see them as non partisan. This makes it hard for Kenyan Media houses to pick a side to support as opposed to CNN and Fox News.


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