Many radio journalists consider owners of their media houses as the main cause for their insecurity on the job. The journalists also blame their employers to be politically partial. This was the outcome of a recent meeting with journalists from seven Kenyan radio stations.
The participants took the initiative to bring their safety and independence to the attention of the floor. With the consent of the meeting’s participants, we publish the results – as the contribution of RoGGKenya to this year’s World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd 2019.
Note: the “clean” station, named “F”, is not politically or commercially owned and has virtually no reporters who are working in the field for it.
The sad picture of partiality
In six out of the seven stations, owner’s pressure is considered to be the main cause of dangers for employees.
Employees in five out of seven stations knew of cases when stories had been killed for economic or political reasons.
In five out of seven stations they think that the station had less listeners or lower income because the ownership is not considered to be impartial.Unfortunately, this results to lower salary.
In five out of seven stations the owner had caused a change of the broadcast schedule for political reasons.
In four out of seven stations owners were reported to have demanded airtime for themselves.
In four stations, the owners had, according to their employees, blocked critical coverage of some issues.
In four cases out of six the commercial minded owner was seen as somebody who expects his station to take sides.
Participants from three out of seven stations reported that nepotism or favoritism was involved in recruitment and advancement of staff. Employees from the three stations also said that editors had lost their jobs because of owners’ pressure to be one-sided or were at least threatened to lose it.
Abuse of the Media’s Brand
One journalist said that the owner of his radio station used a car with the station’s logo for his political campaigns.That action, he said led to the station being perceived as an enemy by his competitor’s supporters.People from the opposite political side became hostile to the station and it’s staff did not dare to report from the other side any more.
The results of the private poll in the training are published on request of the participants of the meeting. But, for obvious reasons, they had to be anonymous.