By G Oguda
I have just seen the Media Council communique asking media houses to fire all journalists, on their pay roll, harbouring political ambitions. Through their Chair, Charles Kerich, the council has asked all journalists who have declared affiliation to political parties or indicated their intentions to vie for elective positions in the coming elections do so outside newsrooms.
Kerich also says the Council will withdraw accreditations of such journalists which means they will not be authorised to work as a media practitioner.
Let me tell you something.
The first question I asked myself after reading that thing was; “Who is a journalist?” Is Bonoko-deh a professional journalist? What about Mwala Muteti Wa Kilavi? We have Kenyans who sink their hard-earned money to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism, go through the professional rigours equipping themselves with the core competencies of the demanding profession, then after graduation some rascal from a struggling comedy show, who has never seen an inside of a journalism class, is hired to take up the place of these trained chaps.
I keep telling those who care to listen that if the Media Council do not want Kenyans to go to Journalism School, they should close them all allow media houses to hire quacks who broadcast illicit content on morning radio.
When you fail to do the constitutional job you were assigned to do, you have no business lecturing any journalist who harbours political ambition under the sun; because we all know where the motivation of this order has come from. Mohammed Ali will leave KTN today, or tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but his exit will not have resolved the ineptitude of the policy-implementors at the Media Council who either do no understand their scope of work or are blind to the glaring political interference currently exhibited by those in that board issuing decrees like crackpot dictators.
Radio journalist Njogu wa Njoroge threw his hat in the ring for the Njoro parliamentary seat a million years ago. It was well fleshed out in all the papers. He even had a photoshoot with President Uhuru Kenyatta. The hotrod Kameme FM presenter, famous for having a venomous tongue on air, even hosted a bash in Kasarani where a heavy contingent of TNA wagons, led by airhead Moses Kuria, amid cheers from the partisan crowd, called for the assassination of Raila Odinga. Anyone who associates with a thug is a thug himself. “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are” is not any other idle expression of speech.
Yet you did not hear The Media Council issue a decree telling that cobra-tongued-masquerador to quit the clean profession of journalism and focus on the mud of politics. They kept their beaks all shut. Until Dennis Itumbi started a Facebook war with Mohammed Ali and was losing the fight, when the Media Council decided to tag team with the oppressive system to give them an unnecessary jolt.
The Media Council’s terms of reference is not limited to placing a microchip on journalists alone. They have a constitutional mandate to also monitor media practitioners. Gladys Boss Shollei wants to be Uasin Gishu Senator on a Jubilee ticket. She is married to Standard Group’s CEO Sam Shollei. This is Kenya, and we all know how the story goes. When GB Shollei was being hounded out of the Judiciary on corruption allegations, it is to Standard Media Group where she ran for cover – launching missiles upon missiles of comebacks against the, then, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. That pathetic attempt at laundering her soiled image didn’t yield much. She’s now reaping the cold fruits of her arrogant actions back then.
I didn’t see the Media Council raise a finger. They coiled their tails like a washed out cat and fence-sat through the unprofessional melee. You can bet your yellow Volkswagen Beetle that the Council will not send any letter to Sam Shollei asking him not to allow his wife use the Standard Group the way she wants. You could argue The Standard Media Group will be Jubilee’s official broadcasting partner when the bell for the campaigns are sounded.
Look at MediaMax Limited. All outlets belonging this corporation is as red as the Jubilee flag, they should actually redesign their logo to involve the two yellow fists with ‘Tuko Pamoja’ underneath it. The reason K24 ratings have refused to soar is because of their association with the ruling regime.
There are homes in this country where that channel is locked because parents do not want to pollute the mindset of their children with unresearched government propaganda. AC Milan was owned by Sylvio Berlusconi, but even the former Italy Prime Minister was careful not to tell Carlo Ancelotti who to field on the day of the Champions League Final, neither did he interfere with officiating whenever his team took to the field. He let King Carlo, and match officials, do their respective jobs, and were judged on their own merit. If K24 was a KPL club, they would have won the league ten times on the bounce, with a million matches to spare; thanks to coercion, bribery, and intimidation.
This country cannot afford to activate dusty rules and regulations only when it fits those in power. We have to make a choice as country whether we want to abide by the rule of all-law, or the rule of one-man.
I leave you with the immortal words of Mehmet Murat ildan, The Turkish Playwright, who said, and I quote; “Unless you have a free press in your country, there is no need to buy newspapers and there is no need to watch the news because there is no need to listen to the lies!”
If the Media Council are tired of doing their job, we have a million jobless Kenyans out here ready to serve their country without fear, favour, ill-will, bias, malice or prejudice. And for free. We love this country so much we’ll fight for it’s integrity even if we’ll be the last people standing on this soil.
Step up, my country men. This country needs you now more than ever before.