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Kenya's media accused of bias

Kenya , 08 Sep 2015

Kenya's media accused of bias

A report by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) titled Digital Combat: An assessment of media coverage of the digital migration process and debate in Kenya, says local media had vested interest in the digital migration and consequently failed to represent the situation accurately.

The report reads in part: "The media has not fairly covered the digital migration process. Considering that they have vested interests in the process, how unfairly media has covered the discussions on digital migration has been glaringly obvious."

The MCK also indicated that 36% of the articles published about the digital migration had assertions that were not accurate.

It added that 66% of stories were opinions and commentaries that put the CA and government on the wrong side of the debate, stating they were "misguided and non-patriotic."

The council went on to state that: "From this study, it was clear that some of the articles that the media published contained information that was not factual and accurate concerning the digital migration process. It was indeed clear that majority of the opinions and commentaries published during the period of analysis supported the view that the government and Communications Authority of Kenya were wrong, misguided and non-patriotic in the way it handled the digital migration process."

Kenya's digital migration process was marred by court cases that resulted in a two-year delay of migration to digital broadcast transmission technology.

The most prominent case was one that saw African Digital Network (ADN) bring the Standard Group, Nation Media Group and Royal Media Services together against the Communication Authority.

The court action led to the three media houses going off air for three weeks. The consortium accused the CA of handing over huge frequency bandwidth to foreign companies and forcing them to have their signals carried by third party foreign companies namely, StarTimes and GoTV.

The situation cooled off eventually when the three media houses were issued their own digital signals under the ADN.

The MCK asserted that 51% of the media coverage consisted of ADN, while Pang (owned by StarTimes) got 26% media coverage and 11% was occupied by Signet, a subsidiary of the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation.

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