By Jackson Omondi
The rate at which political bloggers are intimidated, censored and sometimes annihilated signals a deliberate attempt to neutralize the only source of unfiltered, raw and real-time information.
Ever since the state-funded and operated media house lost its significance amid feisty competition from the other media houses, the government engineered a coordinated campaign to neutralize competition and turned them into quasi government mouthpieces. They now operate in lockstep with government political operatives.
But the media busters forgot one thing. The emergence of social media came from the proverbial left field and surpassed the traditional media in disseminating real-time information! Now, a village dweller is a set of bundles away from hard hitting news.
Big names like Robert Alai and Wahome Thuku routinely experience unprecedented traffic to their walls for raw, unfiltered, thought-provoking news and insight on current events that most marquee news outlets would just dream of! Why? The citizenry lost confidence in the traditional media.
They tapped into the urgency of conveyance that the mainstream media was slow to comprehend and ran away with it. Heck, most media houses now ‘poach’ lead stories from bloggers! This is a signal that the world is changing and the sooner those who make a living by intimidating the alternative news/information outlets realized that the world has changed the better.
The glaring irony is that the very forces that are busy stifling free speech have since set up their own social media fora to disseminate information! They have to pick a side. It’s either you are digital in practice or peacefully remain analogue.
The blogosphere has lost real soldiers of intellectual struggle and greater good under questionable circumstances but the remaining ones have never been emboldened! Unbeknown to the tormentors of this new dispensation, the more they attempt to curtail free speech, the more vigour they inject into the blogosphere!
The assassination of economic fact-checker Jacob Juma is a major loss to the fraternity but the soldiers of the struggle are determined to soldier on with the struggle. For we remember the words of Fredrick Douglass, who reminded us that there will be no progress without struggle.
Jacob Juma was an integral part of an idea, a ripe idea that is unstoppable. No amount of gunfire can stop a pregnant idea ready to be delivered. He may be gone, but the movement that he sparked is alive and kicking!
They were late, VERY late.