By Mohammed Doyo
The Kenyan media was fantastic in year 2013.
Plenty of media houses staff inter transfer, emergence of tabloids targeting the Nairobi market, the online boom for standard digital, the sophisticated and extensive coverage of the 2013 elections, the firing of Paul Melly at the helm of Standard Group as the Chief Executive Officer paving way for the young and vibrant, former Nation Media Group Business Development Officer , Sammy Shollei, the rebranding of K24 and giving it a new lease of life under former Citizen TVâ€™s managing editor Peter Opondo now the MD of the Uhuru Kenyatta owned Mediamax , the cut throat competition to deliver news, the emergence of Dennis Okari as an investigative reporter to check out for in 2014 e.t.c.
However the Kenyan Media in its endeavour to disseminate information did not go without the â€œOh my God Moments.
Some less significant moments eliciting laughs only, while others too shocking for the audience to handle prompting insults on social media by aggrieved Kenyans.
The following are some of the most memorable ones:
1. THE STAR headline (29/11/2013) that claimed the Government initiated a RAILA project.
Probably the biggest editing and proofreading mistake of the 21st century Kenya. In what was supposed to read â€œRAILâ€ project, The Star newspaper in a glaring element of editorial laxity claimed that the government had initiated a Raila project. The â€˜Aâ€™ in RAIL (A) made all the difference. The headline did not, of course, go down well with media enthusiasts and critics who termed the mistake as another case of â€œgutter press incompetenceâ€. The Star however cried foul, claiming it was photo-shopped. They did not apologize.
2. The WESTGATE Attack, Sunday Nation Front Page Image.
A graphic image on Sunday Nation Sept 22,2013 raised heated emotions from Kenyans prompting huge internet backlash by media consumers who felt the image was in bad taste and had violated media ethics. The image showed a woman mercilessly lying on the floor bleeding after being shot several times in the Westgate mall attacks. Perhaps the graphic was settled on by the Sunday Nation team to boost sales through appealing to the audienceâ€™s emotions. However the opposite happened. The plan did not work. Sunday Nation faced so much criticism that it had to apologize on the following dayâ€™s newspaper issue
3. CAROLINE MUTOKOâ€™S feud with Mike Sonko.
Caroline Mutoko is not new to controversy. The KISS FM Breakfast presenter wasnâ€™t any different this year. In a session with Nairobi senator Sonko, the outspoken presenter asked the flamboyant senator some questions that did not augur well with him prompting obscene abuses live on air. Sonko, out of anger , called Mutoko all the names he could. Listeners were treated to word such as â€œMalaya, Fuck and Bitchâ€ that morning.
4. JANET MBUGUAâ€™s â€˜Deputy Senatorâ€™ Moment.
Perhaps the most ignorant media interview question of 2013, Janet Mbugua in one Citizen TV interview sessions at prime time news, few weeks to March 4 election asked the then Jubilee Nairobi Senatorial candidate Mike Sonko who he had considered to be his running mate. Sonko, with a smile on his face had to obviously dismiss the question with a â€œThere are no running mates for the senate seatâ€. This perhaps was a wider picture of how some of the news anchors that grace our sitting rooms everyday are, ironically, uninformed on certain political issues.
5. CIKU MUIRURI and Arturs.
Ciku Muiruru known for her popular show â€˜Bustedâ€™ on Classic FM was busted with Arturs in a clip aired on KTN from the popular investigative program Jicho Pevu. Ciku, in company of the mercenaries, was seen lifted by one of the arturs in what was interpreted as an act of romance by many viewers. What followed was a serious trolling on twitter and Facebook with many praising Mohammed Ali for ironically â€œbustingâ€ the queen of busting people.
6. NTV â€œHABEMUS PAPAMâ€ moment.
NTV might probably be forgiven for this considering almost its entire staff do not understand Latin. However it shouldnâ€™t go unmentioned.
During the selection of a new pope to replace Pope Benedict XVI, immediately the black smoke was seen signifying a new pope, all stations carried the words on the screen â€œHabemus papamâ€. While the Latin phrase Habemus Papam means â€œWe have a popeâ€ NTV in a hurry to break the news updated on its Social media networks â€œHabemus Papam-The new pope is called Habemusâ€ .This was a hilarious one! This incident provided one vital lesson to media practitioners though- Never post it before you understand it.
7. LARRY MADOWOâ€™S â€œWill He make it out Â Aliveâ€ Moment.
Larry Madowo is loved and hated in equal measure. This guy will never hesitate asking his hosts questions he thinks are important. However, this NTV chap sometimes goes out of his way to ask weird questions. The most memorable of such an incident was when he asked a shaken, deeply worried but a hopeful woman whose husband was trapped in the Westgate mall for days whether â€œshe thinks her husband would make it out of the building under siege aliveâ€ live on air!
Happy 2014 folks!
Mohammed Doyo is a Journalism undergraduate student at Moi University