First, I’m not happy with the way the media have handled the referendum campaigns.
On a scale of one to ten, I’ll give them six. They have just been above average but do not deserve a clap of any sort. Were it not for the wide coverage of political rallies and some informative plenary discussions I would have comfortably given them four!
I’m particularly perturbed by how Standard Media Group and particularly its TV station, KTN, though it is not alone in this cocoon, manned by politicians, reported news about the referendum.
The station focused so much on former President Moi and his family- a child born after 2002 and ardent fan of KTN, could have guessed right the sitting President of Kenya as Daniel arap Moi and his son Gideon Moi his Vice-president.
The most abuse of the media group was how they gave Moi’s son lots of coverage. For goodness sake, why should young G. Moi be given so much airtime on TV? Who’s he?
These not-so-rhetorical questions are worth an answer. Let me try to guess.
If it’s because he’s KANU’s vice-chairman, then I’m sorry he got more than he should have had. How many other vice-chairmen of other so-called big parties, factually more prominent than him, got such huge daily footage on TV?
Asman Kamama, for example deputises Martha Kara for Narc Kenya and I bet since referendum campaigns began, if my mind serves me well, was never mentioned let alone given any coverage by the media.
The likes of George Nyamweya of PNU found some little mention when he accompanied the likes of his boss, President Kibaki, to a function-no he didn’t at all- the nominated Mp was in the No and therefore a total black-out though he was in Gideon’s side. No other time was he given a whole time to express his No ideas.
So when G.Moi, a mere vice-chair, is all over the Standard’s news outlets, then it’s questionable. I don’t need to say more of former president whose name was mud immediately after NARC came to power in 2002. However, the past few days, a foreigner could have easily thought he was still at State House if his less anonymity on TV, especially KTN was to go by.
It is without any doubt that most media stations once again failed to observe the Media Act which clearly stipulates in section 35 (I) that: “The media shall, in a free and independent manner and style, inform the public on issues of public interest and importance in a fair, accurate and unbiased manner whilst distinctly isolating opinion from fact and avoiding offensive coverage of nudity, violence and ethnic biases.”
Fairness seemed elusive for most of them and campaign news beamed by most TV stations were either skewed towards a particular side or meant to promulgate more one message (either Yes or No) over the second.
By the way
*‘Decision 2010’ on NTV is just the bomb! Please make an effort to watch it. It runs from 1st to 6th August.
*May the side which read and understood well the proposed constitution win.
*This is my penultimate post on referendum matters.