The war on contraband should make media houses invest in investigative journalism again

Imported sugar at the port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Photo courtesy of Nation Media Group.

Sugar. Something sweet. Something everyone loves in their tea or favourite pastry. It has become a very sensitive topic over the last couple of weeks.

In fact, as I was shopping on Monday, most supermarkets did not have sugar or the prized comodity’s prices had risen. Reason being that thr sugar  we have been taking is claimed to be having mercury.

The truths, half-truths and lies told by various agencies and ministries have cast doubts over whether really you can trust the sugar that you are taking. The most interesting thing is that no one knows whom to trust. Little investigations have been done by the media.

For instance, the story was not broken by a media outlet but by the Minister of Interior who divulged little details but only mentioned the use of contraband in the country.

The media has not publicly released any government laboratory tests to prove if in fact the story is true.  In fact the reports seem to be contradictory as the Ministry of Industrialisation released a statement saying the sugar is indeed fit for human consumption. The ministry of Agriculture has also been very shady with how it is working its details of the sugar problems.

The media has been covering the issue and keeping us updated with the statement that politicians are making and policy leaders but little has been done to come up with the truth.  For instance the media has been very categorical in saying the sugar is not laced with Mercury and copper and lead. However they have not attempted in getting the lab reports or independent lab report.

The media needs to now step away from the political fray and go in depth — beyond statements and now do thorough research into sugar importers and make sure that they have set the agenda of now getting justice for everyone.

Media houses need to fund their investigative units much more and give them more arm length to carry out research as to how the sugar got into the country and avoid just relaying verbatim what was said by various leaders.

Though they have been able to get some news independently, the investigative wing of journalism seems to be slowing down in Kenya. News like this has not been broken. Instead, alignments for the 2022 elections have been under focus.




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