Is the Star Newspaper an Al Shabaab operative? Where do they get their intel? That is the question Kenyans are asking. As a Kenyan, it is appalling to see the Star Newspaper promote such derogatory remarks that clearly project a pro Al Shabaab media house meant to glorify the Al Shabaab and other terrorist groups while demeaning the country’s military fight against such coward extremist groups. It might not have been written in bold but this has evoked great anger among Kenyans towards the creators of such unworthy headlines.

Any form of media cannot and should not be overlooked as they have a direct effect on audiences and they build perception through the news and information disseminated. Hence, in this day and age, almost every, if not all military installations throughout the world, has a media strategy that enables them to psychologically tame their enemies. Countries have done this and, in some instances, have averted impending war. From the Cold War to the September 11 Terrorist attack, the media has proved to be a useful tool in wars and the fight against terrorism among other forms of conflict.

However, coming back home, our own local newspaper, The Star seems to be reading from a different script. With their Friday 24th 2020 headline reading ‘KDF BLEW UP EL ADDE CAMP, KILLING 147 OWN SOLDIERS’, a lot comes into question over their objective or end-game in what they are propagating as a media house. This headline out-rightly glorifies the mission of the Al Shabaab and empowers the terrorist group as an overbearing victorious group which is not the case. Questions must be asked on the ‘status’ of the Star Newspaper team from the writers and reporters, up to the sub-editors and editors.

Are there Al Shabaab sympathisers within the Star fraternity or are there operatives of the terrorist group? Is someone being paid to drive the group’s agenda? Do they want to plunge the country into a state of fear that would ensure businesses and other operations slow down or come to a halt as a result of instigated fear?

This is what terrorism thrives on and the Star newspaper has been continually fueling terrorist operations affecting Kenya through the dissemination of sensationalized media coverage of Al Shabaab attacks that are stabbing the country’s achievements towards the fight against terrorism.

To bring this into perspective, the Dusit Attack is a perfect example of how some media houses portrayed the country as triumphant, which in effect worked against the agenda of the Al Shabaab who were ultimately defeated. ‘Kenya unbowed’ by People Daily and ‘Terror in the city’ for the Star Newspaper are two extremely different headlines evoking a feeling of victory for the former and fear for the latter. However, both were explaining the same situation; the Dusit Attack.

This has been the nature of the Star Newspaper covertly furthering the agenda of the Al-Shabaab. Some of their insensitive headlines portraying the Kenya Defence Forces include ‘One more body, arms recovered after attack on KDF-US base in Lamu; KDF accused of torturing man over alleged Al-Shabaab link; Cowardly Acts? US army criticizes KDF action during Manda Bay attack, El-Adde; How 147 soldiers met their death in Somalia; Near death experience for KDF soldiers; Killing, parading of KDF soldiers in Kismayo was lowest moment – Brigadier. This is how the Star Newspaper is promoting and propagating the Al-Shabaab agenda.

This issue must be investigated and firmly dealt with to avert such scenarios. The country has no room for any terrorist activities neither does it have room for Al Shabaab sympathizers.