About Kenya Editors Guild

The Kenya Editors Guild is a not for profit professional organisation that brings together the most senior print, magazine, broadcast and other electronic media editors.......

Readmore...

Featured Video

Follow Us


Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Breakfast meeting with Ministry of ICT

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Dr Fred Matiang'i invites the Kenya Editors Guild for a breakfast meeting this Thursday 9th April 2015, from 7.30am at the Serena Hotel. The purpose of the meeting is to brief the media on the "Status of the Industry" and discuss issues of interest with editors. See Kenya Editors Guild Chairman Mr. Linus Kaikai Speech.

.


"Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi, fellow editors and my colleagues journalists here present. At this hour exactly a week ago today, the fate of hundreds of our fellow countrymen, the young students of the Garissa University College lay in the hands of four armed, suicidal terrorists as our country once again came under attack.


Our meeting this morning comes against a backdrop of another painful and tearful mourning season for our country. My heart goes out to the families that lost their sons and daughters to this mindless terrorist attack. My heart bleeds for the families that up to this morning throng the Chiromo Mortuary here in Nairobi waiting to identify the bodies of their loved ones. We share in the pain of so many others that do not even know where their kin are and whether they are alive or dead.

Terrorists have struck our country before, each attack inflicting greater pain than the previous one. But as a country, we should neither forget nor forgive the mindless slaughter of over 140 innocent, young souls in Garissa.  These deaths must not be in vain.  We will also remember the gallantry, dedication and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform both in the Kenya Defence Forces KDF and the Kenya Police Service.

I wish to pay particular tribute to the General Service Unit GSU’s Recce Company for once again carrying the hopes of our country under very difficult situations and circumstances.  We will remember and always honor as our heroes in Recce, KDF and regular and administration police that have paid the ultimate price in the course of safeguarding the lives of our people.  This morning, my prayers go to the widow and children of the late Corporal Benedict Kipkemboi Tonui, the valiant Recce frontman who bravely confronted the last terrorist in the Garissa attack.  We also remember the families of  KDF paratrooper Solomon Oludo and  Administration Police constable Peter Masinde, both who perished fighting to save lives at the Garissa University College.

A lot has been said about our government’s response to the attack in Garissa. From grieving parents and relatives to regular Kenyans on the street and to journalists and commentators in the media, there has been a consensus that this could have been handled better.  But we have also seen denials and counter-arguments some of them made on international media.

Cabinet secretary, fellow editors and colleagues; this country has been down that bend before.  We heard exactly the same discussion during the Westgate attack in September 2013 and subsequently in Mpeketoni, Mandera bus and Mandera quarry attacks. This should tell us one thing as a country; we are not only experiencing a cycle of identical terror attacks but also a consistently disturbing pattern of response.  Garissa University College has therefore become the higher price we pay for simply failing to learn from the Westgate, Mandera and Mpeketoni attacks. This is the costly cycle that we must as Kenyans commit to decisively break.

It will take a concerted effort of all Kenyans to break this cycle, but it should be their rightful conviction and legitimate expectation that government exists for days like this.  Should this be found a useful reminder, the place of government in the fight against terrorism is the front. It is a place that cannot be subjected to a coin toss and it is a position that has no substitute.

Cabinet Secretary and my fellow colleagues, we all understand that terrorism is a global phenomenon.  It should then follow that our government should pursue constructive engagements with other nations to combat the terror problem. There are many Kenyans out there who are disappointed with our dismissive approach to travel advisories by foreign, friendly governments. The Garissa attack was preceded by a particularly untidy discourse over a travel advisory issued by Britain.  We only hope that any intelligence shared alongside the travel advisory was not treated with similar contempt.

Cabinet Secretary, fellow editors and colleagues, let me now come to the main subject of our gathering this morning – the state of our journalism and media industry. From the outset, let me say I am deeply encouraged by the growth and resilience of the Kenyan media industry.

Today, we remain one of Africa’s most vibrant media environments.

I pay tribute to you my colleagues editors for your continued safe steering of our respective ships. But we must remember our predecessors who laid a strong foundation under far more difficult circumstances than we operate today.

It is a coincidence this morning that the country is marking the second anniversary of the Jubilee Administration. Some of our coverage today should appropriately be about taking stock of the last two years on behalf of Kenyans. While you are on that, allow me in my capacity as chairman of your Editors Guild, to share my reflections on the state of our industry.

It has been a tough two years for the media. As an industry, we have been swinging between hope and despair. The legislative agenda has consistently been one that seeks not to regulate but to curtail the very freedoms that make the work of journalists possible… SEPARATE PAPER, COMMENT ON LAWS

The list is endless.

We consider these pieces of retrogressive legislation as a polite way of rolling back the progress of our industry and that of the country.  I salute the efforts of colleagues within the media and many other well-meaning Kenyans who are committed to a free and independent. I urge them to remain vigilant especially in the wake of cunning methods of introducing retrogressive laws by hiding the clauses between the lines like was the case in the infamous Security Bill controversially passed last December.

Cabinet Secretary, my dear colleagues – the digital migration for television is another recent highlight I would like to report on this morning.

The events are recent enough to be fresh in our memories.  Digital Migration, though a technical matter, became a multi-faceted dilemma for the industry that I must say, presented unprecedented disruption since the advent of independent television in the early 90s. Unbeknown to many Kenyan viewers today, digital migration was not about migrating them from the aerial to digital decoders. This was a battle of big, powerful, yet mysterious business interests some traced to secret accounts overseas.
 
Two things stood out awkwardly throughout the very heated contest over the digital migration schedule. The first one is the aggressive partisanship of the Communications Authority and the second one is the tacit approval of this partisanship by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology. Let me be on record here; the handling of the digital migration  process in Kenya was both flawed and irresponsible. The dust is settling, depending on how fast as a viewer you got a set-top box… But those in the CA and the ministry  deep down their conscience know that  it is not necessarily right just because it is over. I am certain this matter particularly the grey details like the skewed licensing of Broadcast Signal Distributors will remain the subject of unceasing scrutiny in the media and elsewhere.

Cabinet Secretary and fellow editors, we remained concerned that the intellectual property rights of broadcasters and independent producers suffered the most during the chaotic, forceful digital migration.  As we speak this morning, all Pay TV service providers are airing the content of broadcasters under the ‘Must Carry Rule’ erroneously imposed by the Supreme Court in September last year.  Because of this rule and the sustained hostility and indifference of the regulator, most of the Pay TV service providers have not even found it necessary to go through the courtesy of informing the broadcasters of their intention to include their content in their bouquets.   In the fullness of time, I am confident that the issue of copyright and intellectual property rights will be revisited and justly addressed.

Let me now conclude by addressing myself to the way forward.

Minister, as you may appreciate, I am not reading a very impressive report card this morning. There is an opportunity for all of us to shape and nurture the sector in better ways that guarantee the greater good of society.  Relationships have been acrimonious as witnessed through the digital migration process and before that, the many attempts at negative legislation targeting the media. At the heart of this acrimony is a somewhat entrenched culture of talking down at media, scolding reporters and lecturing journalists about what constitutes responsible reporting and what not. It is time this tone and attitude changed.

We noticed recently that our ambassadors gathered in the Coast for their annual meeting and one of the issues they raised was what they called negative portrayal of the country by the media resulting in the downslide of  the tourism sector as a result of  the travel advisories. Let me point out to our distinguished ambassadors that their foreign counterparts in Nairobi are not necessarily using media reports to send their briefings back home. As we now all appreciate after Garissa, they rely almost entirely their own intelligence gathering mechanism to assess situations and report back to their governments. So, do not blame our media instead

Let us commit to moving the country forward by respecting the letter and spirit of the 2010 Constitution that changed the landscape for good with regard to fundamental freedoms that include Freedom of the Media as enshrined in Chapter  34. These freedoms are irreversible and our defence of these freedoms will remain brave and unwavering.

Cabinet Secretary, fellow editors and colleagues, I thank you for your attention.

God bless you all."

Friends of Kenya Editors Guild