So the abduction of Barrack Oduor recently sparked a lot of controversy and ended up in the death of a source to that story; Sharon Otieno. Though the death is still under investigation a conversation on media freedom and protection of journalists and whether journalism is under threat in Kenya.
A few cases of journalists being arrested have caught my eye over the last two years. For instance at the height of campaign periods in 2017 Walter Menya a Sunday Nation Journalist was arrested over claims of having taken a bribe. The story which was broken by a Jubilee Blogger, Pauline Njoroge sparked a controversy and a stir after what seemed to be punishment for Walter who had written a hit piece about KRA director John Njiraini.
This however is not the only time that the media house came under fire. NASA supporters criticized the paper and even banned their supporters from using products from the Nation Media Group. They claimed political bias and accused them of having Jubilee’s back during the coverage of elections.
Generally the media has had a lot of trouble with government and opposition numerous times. In January of this year most media houses were shut down for a week. This after they aired the swearing in of Raila Odinga live even after being threatened not to do so by the government.
However the media has generally allowed itself to be politicians’ puppets. Most media houses did not do anything to support public interest and be the public’s guardian as they are supposed to do so. For instance Standard Media Group has allowed itself to use their social media space to support one of its largest shareholders, Gideon Moi. Most media houses are politically owned making it problematic for some stories which are of public interest to actually come in front and center but end up being distorted.
The media has generally brought this upon themselves when they embraced a cup of tea at State House way back in 2013. At the time the Uhuru Kenyatta Administration seemed to be open and transparent and allowed itself to be checked thoroughly by everyone and even doing pressures to show openness. However when the media started supporting the corrupt narrative the niceties was thrown out of the window.
I am not saying the media is under fire they however seem to have brought it upon themselves by thinking Jubilee was their friend. Did they think the Government would not fight back? Should we push for legislation to make sure that the media is not prosecuted? Should we allow the media to support and endorse political parties and candidates?