Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Thursday, 16 June 2011
In one of those rare moments, Kenya gets to stand in front of a mirror. It's highly improbable that what is reflected back will be interpreted the same way by all citizens. So, when Nominated Member of Parliament Millie Odhiambo says 15% of Kenyans are either gays or lesbians, it's understandable that what this mirror reflects back will not be agreeable to all.
The fact that this assertion was made on the floor of the House and a direct reference was made about the possibility of 15% of MPs likewise being 'non-heterosexual,' almost stalled the debate on a matter of crucial national importance.
The furore generated in Parliament was equally witnessed in social media circles, as reflected below.
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Who will save us from some of the dubious salvation being peddled on TV stations? Ironic, I think it is, for the Kenyan media to always be quick to expose fraudsters, tricksters or con artists and still accord a platform to religious shows that seem to perpetuate the very same sins.
It's really amazing just how much of what is screened borders on outright hoodwinking of the audience, especially the gullible type, who need no concrete proof to believe in make-believe miracles.
Admittedly, it is hard to demand for evidence, when matters of faith are involved. But, and a big but, some performances in these spiritual extravaganzas come very close to stage-managed performances, even to the untrained eye.
It is more worrying that the media is being used by the televangelists, to coerce their congregation into parting with cash.
With the advent of mobile phone money transfer services, cell-phone numbers are some of the graphical details you are most likely going to see being prominently displayed in the church programmes, encouraging viewers to use them to help this or that religious cause.
And if the supposed shepherd is the usual eloquent master of the spoken word, then his or her word is inter-laced with anything from threats of fire and brimstone to promises of instant redemption from whatever is afflicting the flock, to achieve the financial agenda, never mind what the actual Word says.
Therein lies my problem with the trend taken by nearly all the local TV stations, of allocating morning hours air-time on Sundays, to programmes with questionable religious content.
The way TV stations can refuse paid up advertisements from politicians spreading hatred or promoting hegemony, is the same way local channels should refuse to sell their airtime to creators of misleading religious programmes.
Thursday, 2 June 2011
Dr. Chijioke Wigwe has this amazing rebuttal that the injuries his wife claims were inflicted by him, during a domestic spat, were grossly exaggerated and that Mrs Tess Iyi Wigwe actually smeared blood across her face to make it look like she was brutally assaulted by her husband.
If the media gets caught up in such a fine mess, who is likely to be believed? And based on what evidence?
Facts are sacred in journalism, no doubt. But the catch is that, facts have a nasty habit of taking a different shade or shape, depending on who is being quoted in a story.
And that is why it is essential for the press to independently seek to establish the truth, by thoroughly interrogating all the versions being presented or misrepresented as truthful accounts.
And if this proves impossible to determine, then a news story is in the very least expected to be balanced, which means getting both sides of a dispute represented in a story and then allowing members of the audience to draw their own conclusion, as the relevant authorities conduct the more formal investigations.
But also, one must not lose sight of the fact that it is not always that the media has options in black and white. There are lots and lots of grey areas.