Media blackout Kenya The shameful thing K24 and KBC did after Raila was sworn in

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Trying times for media freedom

Raila Odinga taking the oath of office as administered by Miguna Miguna (left) play Raila Odinga taking the oath of office as administered by Miguna Miguna (left) (Twitter)

The Kenyan media was on Tuesday dealt a major blow after the government cracked down on several television and radio stations that covered the controversial swearing in ceremony for NASA leader Raila Odinga.

Citizen TV became the first to go off air on Tuesday morning while offering a live coverage of the much awaited inauguration.

play Raila Odinga taking his oath of office at Uhuru Park (Twitter)

Shortly after, NTV and KTN News  were taken off air on both paid and free-to-air digital platforms.
 

Curiously, only two television stations with a significant national following were allowed to air.

K24, owned by President Uhuru Kenyatta's family, and the government-owned KBC were not affected by the shut down.

Despite the government's shut down on broadcasters, a majority of Kenyans were still able to follow the big news of the day courtesy of internet platforms.

Beyond the politics of swearing in, every Kenyan who values democracy will agree that the shut down was a painful reminder of the autocratic Nyayo regime that oppressed Kenyans for more than two decades.

play K24 logo (Twitter)

 

It is especially shameful that K24 and KBC did not give a single mention to Odinga's "swearing-in" during their news bulletin.

If indeed the NASA swearing-in was an illegality, the government ought to have responded by arresting both Odinga and organisers of the Uhuru Park rally.

By declining to air or mention the so called "illegality" the media stations sacrificed media freedom at the alter of political correctness.

play NASA leaders at Uhuru Park ahead of Raila's swearing in (Twitter)

 

As Macharia Gaitho aptly put it, the two media houses behaved cowardly and "became willing participants in their own castration".

Silent Kenyans who have shied away from criticising the draconian media gag would do well to remember of words of a German Pastor Martin Niemöller who recounted the holocaust with the below poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

Tony Mukere is a journalist and social commentator. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Pulselive.co.ke

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