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‘Kenyan government starving media of advertising’ - Cofek

Kenya , 07 Jul 2014

‘Kenyan government starving media of advertising’ - Cofek

The Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has accused government of intentionally not buying advertising from local media and also of thereby compromising the country’s media freedom.

“Already, mainstream media houses no longer carry heavy investigative stories against government. They are playing apologists for government’s poor show against public expectations,” a statement from Cofek reads.

In a move to cut government costs, the cabinet secretary for Information and Communication, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, advised public bodies to embrace online advertising.

He said the directive is intended to help government reduce its spending from KSh 2.8 billion ($30 million) to KSh 1 billion ($11million)

"The new directive requires all advertisements and notices by government ministries, state corporations and foreign missions to be published through other more cost-effective means, preferably the electronic media, using the government portal," Matiang’i has said.

But Cofek views the situation differently, saying it “is premature, suspect and laced with ill intention of strangling media freedom.”

“Financially-struggling media houses will no longer remain independent and hence affect public accountability in checking government excesses,” the Cofek statement said.

Cofek faulted the cabinet secretary citing that online advertising is hampered by the lack of good penetration rates in Kenya and; hence, the public will be denied government information, which is their right.

Earlier this year during the World Press Freedom Day, President Uhuru Kenyatta, asked private broadcasters to air public service announcements free of charge to benefit the development of the country.

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