MEDIA COMFORT

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Mwenda, D.

The  corruption purge  has continued to grow. What started as prosecution of NYS “season 2” suspects has steadily evolved into other cases. This is happening ad the office of Director of Public Prosecutions, has continued to present more and more suspects to the dock.

The Kenyan media has been at the center stage of giving coverage of the cases. The media houses have taken different approaches when it comes to coverage. For instance, most Television stations have opted to go out of their way to cover live wall to wall proceedings of the cases. Some have even mobilized their resources to get pundits to comment on the matter.

However; the short falls that still bedevil the media are many. For people who are supposed to use the agenda setting role of making sure that justice is served in case the coverage of proceedings and the war on corruption is being fought and not just public relations gimmicks but in deserving truth.

In salient truth, the media has been quick to point out the speediness in which low profile cases take and how others take a while to be dispensed off.  For instance when Daudi Nzomo was arrested for assaulting his wife it did not take the court hours of legal battles. The man who pleaded guilty of assaulting his wife was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The media has been employing an excitable approach and going under with most stories. When the case against former Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Lillian Mbogo Omollo and NYS Former Director Richard Ndubai and 20 other suspects begun all eyes were on the suspects and they went to great lengths to report as to where they were and what they were doing. A local daily even ran a hit piece on Lillian Mbogo Omollo who was reported sick and was enjoying VIP service at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

 

However as months into the case progressed the momentum was put to rest and the stories died down. Instead the media focused on other things like the World Cup matches and other corruption cases. The war on corruption should be an agenda for the media and the need to set up desks to sort out cases hire more personnel and make sure that things are running smoothly when it comes to media coverage.

Take for instance, when a story broke out of Russian involvement in the United States Election of 2016. The media has always ran updates into the investigation by both Congress and the FBI and when the Mueller Investigation was hired by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It has literally covered every aspect of the case. Most have even set it up as their main feature where it is easy to follow up on every single story.

The media has not just sat to be fed stories, they have gone on to investigate the cases first hand. All media houses have come out with various stories to keep the stories but they have failed to keep the story focused towards making sure they have followed a story towards the bitter or happy end.

For the media it has slowly generated into a rush to see who will break out another scandal that will break another scandal faster. However even when the stories are broken little is being done to make sure that the stories are authoritative and that information is not one sided. For instance; when the Nation broke a story the story of the NYS from day 1 they relied on one side to give them information, officials from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions.

I am not saying that it is not good that they got inside sources however they need to work on getting fully fledged investigative wings that investigate firms from day 1 and actually verify the information they are constantly. It is important that there is news about a scandal, but also names names and not just companies which have faceless people. The dependence on government as sources arises when they have to control a narrative or a scandal.

The media have managed to set the agenda and have been able to be the public defender for the people by looking into corruption scandals. However they now need to move and camp out, to be elaborate, on who did it! Where did they did they do it? How did they do it? When did they do it? Do they have a name or is it a racket? It is time to stop being dependent on government officials for them to leak stories and do research about it and make sure everything is understood.

This is what been a watchdog looks like. After all, investigations rely on people. But people swindle truths into censorship.

 

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