If you feel a news story does not measure up to expected journalistic standards, bring it to the Journalism Dry Cleaner. Through our collective wisdom, we will strip it of all offensive dirt.




Thursday, 23 February 2017


Journalism strives to deal with first hand information. That's why reporters are tasked with making direct contact with news sources or those at the centre of the stories they have been assigned to deliver. This is one simple way of assuring the audience that a story is based on solid facts. Credibility gets diminished, if an article is based on unsubstantiated claims. 

Media houses have been known to spend huge amounts in pursuit of stories they deem important, even if it means crossing international borders.

So, it's quite strange that a story emanating from arguably a walking distance from the head office of a newspaper, unashamedly alludes to the paper not having first hand information about what is being reported.

The headline of the article above, instantly grabs attention like a good heading should, and entices the reader to explore the details of this, 'body blow to women' which resulted in the flop of the gender Bill.

But then follows a strap that destroys this wonderful buildup, by confidently stating:
"...claims are rife that most women were absent."
Claims. Claims. Claims!!!

- How is it that the reporter could not establish exactly how many female legislators were absent?

- Is this particular detail not a part of public records?

- By using 'claim' in the article, is it not tantamount to admitting the information being shared could be inaccurate?

- Can I claim this is lazy journalism?

Nay. I proclaim this to be editorial irresponsibility!

Friday, 17 February 2017


Communication entails conveying sensible meaning. If the media reduces itself to communicating nonsense, then questions arise about its ability to properly process the information being published or broadcast. There seems to be a growing epidemic of editorial errors in the Kenyan press. And this is not the heavenly picture of a safe haven for professional communicators.

The writer of the above story tag wanted to communicate something to the audience.

And perhaps it was felt that some useful information was being shared

This is especially so, because no attempt was made to change anything, despite the glaring 'nonsense' on screen.

If the offensive story tag was properly screened prior to this broadcast starting, or at any point before the particular segment ended, then it would have saved the station from another bashing from enemies of media embarrassment.

I wonder what 'unsafe heavens' look like!

Friday, 10 February 2017


A newspaper is a mass communication platform. The contents therein are meant to have the widest appeal possible amongst the audience. And this applies not only to story selection, but also the language utilization. Some expressions thrive in a specific context, and using them haphazardly may upset sensitivities. Verily verily I say unto you, oh thee insensitive media, death stings. 

The caption for the picture above, in a Kenyan daily, looks ingenious, although it's been lifted from a Bible verse.

The stitching of the tittle does appear poetic and evokes a powerful mockery of death.

In the Biblical context, the success of death over life is portrayed as ultimately futile, because through Jesus Christ, victory is assured of life eternal.

But, despite the intended message that life triumphs over death, the paper could be accused of trivializing the loss of someone's life.

You simply can't negate the pain of those who've lost a loved one.

Here on earth, death stings!

Friday, 3 February 2017


"He's the only man in flesh, whom you can't look in the eyes," so crooned Michael Rose, formerly of reggae icons, Black Uhuru. And that aura of mysticism is strongly felt at what used to serve as the palace of Emperor Haile Selassie, in Addis Ababa. The historical connection between Ethiopia and Jamaica comes alive. A prophesy appears fulfilled through His Imperial Majesty.

Visiting the residence of the man at the core of the Rastafarian movement, is a truly fascinating experience, especially if you've grown up listening to reggae music, with abundant references to Haile Selassie, (insert me).

In numerous songs, I've heard of how a prophesy by Jamaican Marcus Garvey in the early 20th century about a black king being crowned in Africa, excited so many down-trodden people, (insert blacks).

A coronation did happen and Ras Tafari Mekonnen became Haile Selassie I, and this supposed fulfilment of Garvey's foresight, gave Rastafarianism a firm foundation.

Ethiopia, apparently holds a special place in the wider schemes of things, and there's even a Biblical verse often quoted by reggae artistes, Psalms 68: 31 which states:
"Princess shall come out of Egypt
Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God."
The rule of Haile Selassie was, however, brutally crushed in the mid 1970s, but the belief in his divinity has never waned.

In a documentary I had the rare privilege of watching at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica, a disbelieving Bob, on hearing of the developments in Ethiopia, penned a very emotive song, emphasizing his and Rastafarians' conviction that 'Jah liveth, ever faithful, ever sure!
Jah Live, Children ye-ah
Jah-Jah Live, Children Ye-ah
Jah Live, Children ye-ah
Jah-Jah Live, Children Ye-ah 
Fools say in their heart,
"Rasta, your god is dead!"
But I'n'I know:
Jah - Jah Dread;
It shall be Dreader Dread

The fierce look of the preserved lion that used to be owned by Emperor Haile Selassie, seems to underline this defiance.

Another reggae legend Bunny Wailer, lyrically cements the continuing link between Marcus Garvey's prophesy, Jamaica and Ethiopia, when he chants:
For it's no use dying in Jamaica,
'Cause we can't afford a burial spot
Remember Marcus Garvey, predicted that day
When all black people shall be going away
To the land of our fore-fathers and our mothers
Right here in Ethiopia
Indeed. the splendour of Haile Selassie's reign is evident in the emperor's private chambers

And as I depart  from this amazing and awe-inspiring country, I marvel at the rich tapestry of spiritualism, the destiny of Africa as defined by Africans, the turbulence of existential struggles and the steadfast belief of an assured emancipation.

I will definitely derive a deeper meaning, the next time I hear Culture's Joseph Hill saying:
There is a land
Far, far away
It's called Addis Ababa
Another reggae living legend Burning Spear aptly captures the reason why The World Should Know about Rasta Business, by making an Appointment with his Majesty and Calling Rastafari to become a Freeman!!!