Media Owners as main Threat to Press Freedom

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The owners of their stations are considered by many radio journalists to be the main cause for their unsafety on the job and being considered to be politically partial. This was the outcome of a recent meeting with journalists from seven Kenyan radio stations when 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.

Click the image below to enlarge the visualization  of the sad picture.
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 resulting in lower salary because the station’s ownership is not considered to be impartial.

In five out of seven stations the owner had caused a change of the broadcast schedule for political reasons, the employees told each other.

In four out of seven stations owners were reported to have demanded airtime for themselves.

Chart of the internal poll in that training (explained in this news above). Click to enlarge.

In four stations the owners had, according to their employees, blocked critical coverage of some issues.

In four cases out of six the commercially 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. At the very same three stations they said that editors had lost their jobs because of owner’s 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 had used the car with the station logo when he went to public appearances as a political candidate – whereby, for his competitors, the station was associated with the “enemy” and became the target of hostility. Staff of that station did not dare to report from the other side any more.

Speaking out not possible

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 anonymized.