Mr. Macharia Gaitho – the man who last year led the whole media fraternity in Kenya to a sumptuous breakfast in Statehouse – is increasingly a frustrated man owing to the harvest the media, and the country, seem to be getting from that early morning media-jubilee unholy nuptial.
Responding to President Uhuru’s elaborate lecture to the media on the World Press Day, during which the president categorically warned, and wagged, that there is ‘no absolute freedom here’ and journalists cannot behave as they are ‘from Mars’, Gaitho is sending a warning that President Uhuru and his government are becoming dictators of sorts.
“In the past the government exerted crude pressure on journalists through the security agencies. Now we see a pattern of much more subtle and insidious pressures,â€ warned Gaitho, the chairman of Kenya Editors Guild.
Gaitho also revealed the government has been summoning media managers, including commercial editors, to state house whenever the media shows excessive criticism of the government.
â€œThe summoning baffles us even more that they have been accompanied by commercial managers who have absolutely nothing to do with editorial decisions,â€ he revealed.
Ironically, Gaitho also took issue with media managers ‘going to bed’ with the Jubilee Alliance, despite the fact that he was among top media personalities who slept with government only months after capturing power. Back then, the media did everything in the books to ‘legitimize’ President Uhuru’s presidency, then facing low acceptance from both the opposition and the international community.
“Media managers getting into bed with the government for temporary commercial gains, or out of solidarity with the present political leadership will spell the death of what has been about the most robust, independent and professional media in Africa,â€ Mr Gaitho said.