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Wednesday, 17 July 2013


The Executive. The Media. Are they sworn enemies or just sore partners? Do they check each other's excesses? Or is their agenda set to actually check out and perhaps cheque in? A recent meeting between Kenya's president and various media editors, offered some clues.

It appears their is genuine mutual suspicion between the presidency and the press.

But, there is also a strong feeling that both the government and the media need each other.

Both are alive to the fact that they can use their respective position to either enhance and add value to their interaction, or covertly subvert each other's interests.

And, given an opportunity, journalists can momentarily deviate from the path of professionalism and pursue the route of platitudes, in the remote hope of reaping favours, good standing or simple recognition, from those in power.

The government similarly, can deliberately extend a friendly hand to the media, to indirectly influence or solicit a favourable coverage.

Caught in between this ambivalent relationship is the public, which ironically is supposed to be the main beneficiary of a vibrant media and a robust government.

How then is the Kenyan public supposed to perceive the 'historic' meeting between the country's top leadership and the media? Should it be jealous that the attention has shifted away from it, and subsequently jeopardising the public interest?

Or is this a sign of an elevated strategy to keep the priority firmly locked on due deliverables to the public, since both the state and the media are 'joining' hands?

Either way, it is my belief that the import of the meeting between the editors and the country's leaders, will be measured, not by what each side stands to directly gain, but by how much it translates into uplifting the welfare of Kenyans.