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Monday, 23 November 2009


Is there an unwritten law that says politicians should always have reserved spots in all the media outlets? Must anything and everything emanating from the sphere of politics, however non-sensical, be given prominence,(and credence),by the press?

Are there no lessons learnt from the waywardness of political rhetoric and the vanity of blindly following whatever elected or selected leaders say in the public rostrum?

No doubt these are tough questions but ones that portend even more danger if left unanswered.

Media Coverage of the Draft Constitution Debate

After waiting for two decades for a new Constitution, Kenyans once again have a draft proposal for their consideration. Unfortunately, it seems the norm might be to follow how the politicians interprete the document, despite them often infusing very parochial positions and outrightly selfish interests, in their support for or opposition to the new law. But the bigger tragedy is that many irresponsible standpoints will be prominently captured by the local media.

But why can't the media, instead of simply conveying what the politicians say, make an attempt to interrogate any statement first, before splashing it in newspapers and prime time news? As the public's watchdog, a free media, after all, ought to align its reportage with the needs and aspiration of the country and not just one influential clique.

Politics in Conservation

Even a seemingly straight-forward issue like protecting the Mau forest is allowed to be reduced to a matter of securing votes in a General Election. Granted that those being evicted need to be treated in a humane manner, that should in no way be at the expense of massive environmental degradation. And here, allowing disgruntled politicians to take charge of the public debate, whether they are ignorant or enlightened, is a sure formula for disaster.

Only in Kenya perhaps, can you find a former Minister, who is trained in sciences, seeking to convince his audience that rain does not come from trees but that it just comes from the sky and it is in fact the rain, which results in forests and not the other way round.

As a beginning, may be the media should set aside a politics-free day, every week, and then we see if the world will come to a stop.

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