Monthly Archives: March 2014

The media is not doing enough.

The recent show-off between the Nairobi county leadership and matatu operators about parking fee was  bad publicity and not belonging to the digital Kenya we are so proud to embrace. It was a let-down to most of us who come from other counties and who were not informed about the protests and had to watch from a distance; wondering what all the noise was about.

If any body had a good reason to block roads, It was the outsiders who are most affected by the new exaggerated parking fees because we also pay parking fee in our counties of origin; but since we were never involved nor made aware of any negotiation between the Sacco directors and the Nairobi governor about reducing the cost, we had gone ahead and paid the new fee and issued with the sticker and corresponding  receipts. But when the stories started coming out, anybody would have thought the matatu fraternity had all gone nuts.

The Media had a busy day keeping Kenyans updated with the events as they kept happening. There was a lot of Matatu news televised live and in all bulletins and interviews throughout out the day. I watched technocrats from the ministry of Transport, senior traffic officials from relevant departments were also invited and were seen enjoying very lively discussions on TV; while pointing fingers at the MATATU PEOPLE. That day and also the days that followed, the industry Matatu was given the kind of airplay that would drive any advertiser to bankruptcy if an invoice was to be sent.

I must acknowledge and  “give it up for” the BIG five main Television channels in Kenya { NTV; KTN, CITIZEN TV; QTV and KBC CHANNEL ONE} for their up to date reporting of accidents and the number of people dieing -every year; and- every half year; and at -any given space of time within the year. But that is too little or as they say “a drop in the ocean”. With the kind of influence and loyalty that Kenyans regard our media, They can surely do better.

Our 4th estate has failed to keep pace with the rate Kenyans are civilizing and this has created a gap that still needs to be filled, this is in the area of educating the public/ and providing alternative source of positive leadership/mentor-ship and civic education. I can’t say they have not tried. Probably the lack of influence is because of the approach they use to create road safety awareness. We have become so used to seeing the commandant of Traffic Mr Kimaru and other transport official on TV everyday on talk shows; interviews before and after-every news segment, and any other time a fatal accident happens. We have come to know them to a point that, we can now easily recognize them everywhere even in the streets and supermarkets.You meet one of them and you are..aha.. Nilikuona waaaaapi? not sure whether he is the guy who plays Shilandula comedy; but confident he is a TV personality.

As much as the intentions of our journalist with their- fine toned, refined English- are good, these very valuable time is turning out to be wasted with -empty talks- words that remains just that. All we hear every day is “WE ARE GOING TO ARREST ALL THE OFFENDERS AND TAKE THEM TO COURT” I believe it is time now for our Media guys to” speak with actions” It is traditionally known that, action do speak louder than words. Their impact on reducing deaths and casualties on our roads has not been felt in the grassroots level where the deaths are happening.

There is a lot that has been happening across the world and even locally , NGO’s and Civil society groups are crisscrossing the country, educating motorists and visiting accident victims. Civil society organizations are doing much but the sad news is that, what they are doing is not worth the airplay. probably because nobody is dead just yet}, these reports ends up in some web portal in the internet for researchers or  proposals writers who refer to them hoping to get funds from donors and well wishers.

I got into an augment with a journalist friend who works for one of the mainstream media house over the role they are playing in reducing deaths in our roads. I was of the opinion that the media is not doing enough to improve the lives of millions of viewers who are so loyal to them and will do anything they {the media people} ask them to do. My augment was that; our Media houses have become corridors of power. They have taken over the role of the official opposition to the current government because ODM has is not yet sure where they stand.

My friend warned me that any freelance journalist {like me} who has no “connections, in the main Arena” could be committing a very serious career blunder if he finds fault with the few bosses who control the big houses. She told me that whereas i would really like to find fault with them, i should not give up hope that some day they will be the ones paying my house rent. I agree with her reasoning but at the same time i must point out at the -things they haven’t done; that they should have done; to help in reducing the number of casualties as a resort of road accidents

The TV stations can be a very effective tool in training competent drivers and enlightening and adding driving skills to hundreds of motorist in the comfort of their sitting rooms. Just ask yourself, If a kid can learn how to make  paper toys-boat-plane-box etc in a single TV programme; how much can an adult learn in a 15 minutes Driving lesson– live on TV presented by a qualified driving instructor- just after the 9oclock news???????????


Posted by on March 22, 2014 in Its life, Matatu matters


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