Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Welcome back! It has been a hectic time running around and trying to keep track on the changing face of Kenyan politics. My close friend David Makali (pictured) has left the Sunday Standard where he was my boss in a very interesting way. It all boils down to media freedom, ownership and the place of radical thoughts in an emerging democracy. We have worked together with David since those hectic days of The People weekly, once Kenya's most successful weekly, and later on when I was contributing for expression today published by the Media Institute which he started from scratch.
I hear that David was crucified for running a music radio programme at the Kenya Brodacsting Corporation which was perceived as "conflict of interest". I do not buy that storyline although that is the official line in my place of work.
But Makali goes down (I think up) as one of the most independent career journalists I have come across. We share many ideals on freedom of expression and has been my referee on several occassions and can say nice words about me when I need him. That is why I pen this blog in his honour and tell him
But there are several other thoughts that we need to address what is the role of media in an growing democracy?
Our role is to inform, entertain, and educate regardless of any limits set by other forces. That right should never be taken away from any journalist and any media owner must give in and let the press enjoy its freedom if it has to retain credibility.
I say that because credibility of any media is its driving force and that cannot be achieved if censorship, and back-stabbing is not contained in any media house.
Last night we talked about these issues with coleagues and we agreed that Kenyan media is facing a test of time. We are watching it and from now on you will hear more of these here in the blog...keep visiting.


Kibet said...

Hi John,

I respect Makali and particularly his tenacity and fearless journalism. But with respect to the uncensored dissemination of information by media houses, would you not agree that media houses- being commercial enterprises- need to have some level of moderation purely for commercial and political expediency. And that such commercial and political considerations may once in a while compromise the romantic journalist's craving for dissemination of information that may hinder the paper's larger commercial interest?

Whilst i have no idea on what Makali did that didn't auger well, i figure that perhaps the above commercial and political considerations may have played in the minds of the Standard Group Executives. They have to worry about funding your lifestyles, you know?

I need to categorically state that i am pro-free and transparent journalism.

Kenyananalyst said...

David is one of my heroes in Kenyan journalism. I have written for at least 3 of the Kenyan mainstream papers, so I feel you when you talk about these issues. You are a fine writer too.

wanderim said...

Hi John

Your appreciation of the political intricacies and intrigues in Central Kenya is commendable. Do not however concentrate on painting leaders from that area in a negative light. Look for one positive thing regarding the individuals you write about. Extreme negativity is ahistorical.

Capt. Collins Wanderi