COVID-19 has forced news organisations to adapt to changing times; many are closing down or letting go of their employees. Can journalism be declared redundant at a time when it is needed the most?
Despite having a reputation of being the freest in Africa, the mainstream media in Kenya remains hostage to state and corporate interests that determine what can and what cannot be published.
The trend of knee-jerk public reactions of sympathy to heart-wrenching stories in the media, where ordinary members of the public rally in support of the highlighted case, masks a deeper problem. On the one hand is the troubling pattern of media profiling of the suffering poor to gain high audience ratings and, on the other, the exclusion of millions of others whose stories never get heard and hence receive no attention or assistance.
There is an urgent need for scholars and practitioners to seriously think about media ethics for the internet age, and to develop practical on-the-job training as well as systems that would equip editors with the skills to avoid, or at least mitigate, the risks of publishing on a global platform.
To some, Museveni is a visionary strategist who helped topple three brutal dictators, revived Uganda’s economy, fought the AIDS epidemic and played a steady-handed diplomatic role in a volatile region. But for others, Museveni is himself a brutal dictator, who deliberately provokes conflicts within Uganda and in neighboring countries, brutalizes Uganda’s political opposition and feasts on money stolen from Ugandan taxpayers, all the while beguiling naïve Western journalists and diplomats with his signature charm.
China, an emerging global power, and Britain, a retreating and politically troubled former colonial power, will channel their “media wars” from their bases in Nairobi. It will be a battle between a new Eastern power that hopes to gain a foothold in the continent’s unexplored extractive sector and a nostalgic Western power keen not to lose its control over African and Asian Commonwealth countries.
In the decades since the rope trick bridge, the BBC Natural History Unit has also presented a single, unshakable view of wildlife and conservation. No one doubts that it works magnificently; it’s the corporation’s biggest money earner. It formed and still shapes the public’s view of what conservation actually means in distant continents. But, says STEPHEN CORRY, such narratives transmitted into the comfort of our living rooms are deeply counterproductive for conservation, irrespective of their undoubted beauty and the money and accolades they gather.
For two straight months, the Kenyan media covered the Obado and Maribe trials more than any other issue. Between September and October, 32% of all main headlines across Daily Nation, The Star and People Daily were about the trials. Should we be concerned about this?
Dear Kenyans, this is just a reminder that a majority of the mainstream media you consume is either owned by or has owners closely affiliated to politicians.. pic.twitter.com/xT3NtTdTBP — Odipo Dev (@OdipoDev) October 30, 2018 Odipodev is a data analytics and research firm operating out of Nairobi. They can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Gathara, curator of The Elephant in conversation with members of the Foreign Correspondents' Association of East Africa.
Recent events in Kenya, including the shutting down of TV stations to prevent them from broadcasting the swearing-in of Raila Odinga as “the people’s president”, remind me of the first time I came up against a bullying authoritarian state and how useless such threats proved in the end because buried truths have a way of […]
The Elephant in conversation with Patrick Gathara, Mark Kaigwa, Nanjala Nyabola and Mutemi wa Kiama
The Kenyan Supreme Court surprise decision at the beginning of September to annul the country’s presidential election wrong-footed most commentators. It has left egg on many, including the diplomatic corps as well as local and international observers, who had prematurely declared the election free, fair and credible, wiping egg of their embarrassed faces. But perhaps […]
Charles Onyango-Obbo is an astute media practitioner with loads of experience. For many years, he has been writing three weekly columns, one in Kenya’s Daily Nation, another one in Uganda’s Daily Monitor, and one in the regional newspaper The East African. Onyango-Obbo has also held various editorial management positions at both the Nation and the […]
Wambui is intelligent and funny. She went to a girls’ boarding school and, presumably, is more “girl power” than the average girl. Or so our past conversations have shown. On this day we are talking politics and sadly, I realize we have a problem. These are only the second elections she is eligible to vote […]
Malindi, Kenya – AN UGLY WAR THAT MAKES A MOCKERY OF THE UN’s CORE MANDATE On World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on world leaders to ‘defend a free media’ and to put an end to ‘all crackdowns against journalists because a free press advances peace and justice […]
Cape Town, South Africa – PEACE AT ALL COSTS: BUT ONE DAY, YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY During an election year such as this one in Kenya, much is made by politicians, the news media and to a lesser extent, the voting public, of media objectivity and neutrality. The examples of how certain media houses and […]
Cape Town, South Africa – One could argue that it is never an easy time to be a journalist; but there is less debate about whether in these times when the media is in a constant state of change, it is getting harder to hold on to a permanent job in the press. When it isn’t […]