Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Balancing Acts, a challenge to media owners...

I will keep it short.

Over the past few days I have read a number of blogs about the Kenyan Media conspiring to sign up to a push for peace other than report, question and be the citizen’s watch dog, before during and after the General Elections of March 4th.

Some of the articles border on disgust towards the peace messages that were circulated across the country, other than focus on what the writers call “the bigger issues”. I wish to say that without peace, the deep issues that Kenya needs to deal with can never be achieved.

An article I read during the Easter weekend talked about the passion that journalists had during the Moi regime, where they were even jailed, they took part in riots and questioned the regime.

That was when most of us chose our careers. They were tough, they asked the hard questions and they got answers. They provoked, and they played a big role in shaping Kenya’s democracy.

But the world has changed since the rulebook of journalism was written. How the war against graft and corruption was fought then was different from how it is fought now. Dialogue has taken over teargas, rocks, whips and riots, and the fourth estate has evolved as a consequence, and perhaps the hunger to break news has disappeared along with that.

The 2013 elections provided a critical lesson media owners to build their capacity to ask questions that matter. To invoke upon our consciences a need to delve deeper into matters that Kenyans care about or should know about.

I agree that is a huge gap today in analyses and investigative reporting that marked the 80’s and 90’s, and that Journalists of today do not hold a candle to the scribes of yester years, I wrote about Thought Leadership in journalism a few months ago, and following the events of the elections, now more than ever do we need mentorship.

As we debate the thin line about a fearful press, let us remember that the sequence of events involves a healthy dose of peace. A revolution does not have to be bloody. That’s my take and I’m sticking with it.

Over to media owners, Thought Leadership is a lesson in progress.


  1. On point but the reality is most people are now watching and reading news from foreign Media on Kenyan affairs while in Kenya. It has reached a point where as a society that feeds on information, we no longer trust what comes out of our own local media, the very local news consumer has reached a point where he/she would rather listen to BBC radio rather than one of our local stations. What seems to have been forgotten during this period is that the main intention of Journalism is "to inform society about itself and to make public, things that would otherwise be private." The world might have changed but who will be the advocate of the voiceless? Who'll inform where information is scarce? Who'll play a checking role on the leadership? These are vital questions that if genuinely answered, then the uptake of our local media in terms of journalism will once again be at the levels it once were and we'll take back the mantle that we held.

  2. Bravo chebet. you are on point. hope you saw the group that was praying for kenya to be chaotic i dont know for whose benefit. Thank God for pple like you who reason straight from their heads. wishing you the best. those praising aljazeera and CNN are just a jealous lot. Bless You

  3. What we watch at the Media at every election is tantanouising. Media owners taking political stand sacrificed after the election, reporters porched, sabotage and you guys agree to follow suit.
    Ask yourself how about viewers, readers.
    we charge you the same way we charge MPs etc

  4. media in Kenya has lost the moral right to ever stand up and speak on truth justice, impartiality, the media houses have taken sides , the ownership is suspect because f political interference and journalists like you are sugar coating issue that are going to boil up and affect our children disastrously , please don't tell us about revolution ''being peaceful , peace was never in doubt kenyan's dont want war'they were never going to war anyway, all the kenyan public is asking for is fair and impartial reporting because that will keep everyone on their toes, until then i am not bothering watching anything local .....and that's a decision i suspect a fair number of kenyan's are making

  5. Wouldn't the world be a more open place if we didn't use the name "anonymous" to post comments.

    That aside, Media is as biased as a whole newsroom is. In a daily news editors meeting, you will have at least the 2 hardline sides represented, now the Government and the opposition highly represented. It goes without question however that "Editorial Independence" is a double edged sword.

    To sum up my article above, as a media player, what we require more of is not balanced media, but more training in Journalism. What we learn from the job is more important than what the rule books teach us, but no one bothers to nurture and train today's scribes on how to be a journalist.

    Everyone is too busy making a living and paying little attention to those that shape the perceptions of the mass media.

    let us look beyond our Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Luo or political affiliations and begin to chart a way forward, it starts with constructive criticism, which I thank you all for giving herein.

    Thanks again, Terryanne

  6. I guess its all about the change experience everywhere. Even back in the day university students rioting was the order of the but no more. Tweefs are the new riots, or a scenario where Mbaru won the TNA ticket on facebook. Corwadice maybe...Or probably lack "Owning the process", "tagging along"...we can call it many things.

    Find my tech musings here http://techinfo411.blogspot.com/

  7. " ...the sequence of events involves a healthy dose of peace." Well said.

    As for the gap we're currently experiencing in journalism, I believe mentorship is the answer; veterans who are willing to teach and novices willing to learn. How else are we to grow?... Let the real journalists stand up and be counted.

    - Dash

  8. I'm glad that in the midst of all the unpleasant events playing out right before our eyes, there's a sober mind that chooses to further the object of peace and defend its cause. I wish the rest of the crowd could borrow a leaf from you; ..Kenya is now over the March 4th event and has moved on. We shouldn't live in the past nor hold this great country hostage simply because we lost in a highly placed and faily conducted DEMOCRATIC election. We had our say at the ballot, but the winners certainly had their way. God bless you, TerryAnne.