The practice of journalism in Kenya has tremendously grown however, the issue of ethics has proven to be a jargon to those who are in practice. Simplistically ethics in media entails providing information that is true, accurate and fair; avoiding biasness especially on matters of public interest. It is about integrity and giving your audience factual information and not that which is construed through lies. But what happens when a whole media house is hellbent on pushing propaganda, feeding Kenyans with lies as a strategy to pursue personal interests of employees? Where are the checks and balances if the top leadership right from the Chief editor intentionally provide falsified information without any verification?
From giving Kenyans false information on the Standard Gauge railway to glorifying corruption, the Standard media group have engaged in cheap propaganda. Over the years, the media house has been on a downward trend in sales as well and advertising revenue as they have lost clout over their audiences and being overtaken by other media houses. This is especially because of their biasness in reportage as well as openly lying to Kenyans through their newspaper articles.
The Standard Media Group openly lied to Kenyans preaching gloom and doom for various government projects and initiatives that are set to catapult the country towards a middle-class economy. For instance, a one Dominic Omondi in all his articles dwells on creating fear in the country based on unverified figures and giving his own estimates without verified statistical figures. He is common in using phrases that skew facts and ultimately distorts reality. In one of the articles the said reporter mentioned that there were 545 stalled projects valued at Sh365.9 billion as of June 2018 yet he intentionally fails to mention these ‘stalled projects’ and yet in the same article bashes the SGR which currently has two phases complete with the recent Phase 2 having being opened in October.
This is no surprise from the media house as they have over the past five years been making desperate moves in a bid to recoup their lost glory. With rising competition from other media houses, they have struggled with marketing of their print and digital media as more advertisers turn away to other media houses. In their desperation Standard media Group back in 2016, hired Denis Galava as Chief Editor immediately he was fired at Nation Media Group. An expert propagandist, Galava had become a liability towards Nation Media Group’s reputation as they were shunning propaganda, having well invested in digital media to move its products.
As journalism is business, standard media group, has grown to become the breadbasket of lies and falsified information more so becoming a tabloid or the street name of ‘gutter press’. Paying total disregard to the code of conduct for journalist some of which are provide in the Media Act, this man Denis Galava was able to propagate lies to make sales continuously pursuing his personal vendetta against the government. Indeed the lies worked for the media house whose sales then increased from a circulation of 50000 to 70000.
Despite letting him go, Dennis Galava was recently rehired as the standard media print circulation tumbled again. The newspaper is based on lies as journalists are instructed to be sensational in their reportage with no need of verification of facts. It is a free far all media house so long as the figures make sense at the close of business. With zero strategy on maintaining its market the media house is convinced that propaganda is their road to success.
Consultation and review is a requirement before a story is published but if the chief editor and journalists in a media house are affiliated to politicians and accept to be used who will save Kenyans from these paltry of lies? The media needs to give information that is authentic and verified without creating animosity, hatred towards individual, communities or leaders. It is about giving the true facts and not swaying the public towards a certain direction. Will riding on controversy and propaganda catapult standard media to selling more newspapers and gaining clout? Is that their ultimate marketing strategy? Let us stop buying the lies!