Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Media of Kenya in a nutshell

At the outset of this blog assignment I knew absolutely nothing about Kenya, especially the media in that country. What I did know however, was that Kenya is an East African country that struggles with poverty, political corruption and health issues of its' people. Kenya also boasts a very diverse culture, filled with pride and a high sense of nationalism. Kenyans are a proud people, they have great food, music, and clothing, but most of all, they take great pride in their heritage. Kenya was not my first choice for this assignment, but I am very appreciative to the person who chose Spain before me. I have learned a great deal, not only about the media, but about the fantastic country that is Kenya.

Kenya's media is perhaps one of the most vibrant and youthful entities in Africa. Their newspapers are filled with colorful articles, pictures, and editorials about the happenings in Africa, as well as the world. Although the literacy rate is not extremely high, the writers at The Standard, The Nation, and many other periodicals throughout Kenya, are very well spoken, and are also well versed in AP Style writing. I found it surprising that the writer's for these newspapers were as good as they were, but after further research, a lot of them went to specific journalism schools that catered to their love of writing.

Some of the best articles I read were not on anything having to do with politics or all the revolutions throughout the Middle East, but rather on the Heritage of Kenya itself. The big media outlets in Kenya covered the issues in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and the other's who were having problems to an extent, but not like they covered their own country. The writer's in Kenya take serious pride in their country, and it showed throughout the semester as I followed the East African Nation. They have a lot different tribes and languages that really feed into the diversity of the country, and make their media one that is distinct from others.

Throughout my coverage of the media in Kenya, I have learned that just because a country may be less developed, or that country may not have as many means to create a stable, thriving media, all it takes is for people to have a passion for reporting. Kenya is one of the most poverty ridden countries in the world, but the people who write for their media entities take great pride in their job, and it shows. If there is one thing that will bring Kenya out of its' struggle with poverty, and turn that country into what it is aspiring to be, it is their media - I just hope they don't lose sight of their fantastic heritage.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Impacts of Digital Technology in Kenya

1. What are the impacts and effects of the internet, mobile phones, and other digital technology for global media?

Kenya has about 22 million cell phone subscribers, that is about 55% of the population. Many cell phone companies exist, but a lot of the local people either don't have the means, or are uninterested in cell phone usage. The impacts have been great for Kenyans, they are able to communicate with much more of their family, who may live elsewhere.

Kenya's internet usage is much higher than its' cell phone usage. Accoring to Alexa.com, here are Kenya's top viewed sites on the internet:

1. Facebook
2. google.co.ke
3. Google.
4. Yahoo
5. YouTube
6. Blogger
7. Wikipedia
8. Twitter
9. Daily Nation
10. LinkedIn

Full list can be seen here

The impacts of the internet in Kenya have been huge. Kenyans are now able to access the world just like every other country. As you can see from the list above, the most visited sites are those of social media or search engines. Seeing Kenya take such a great interest into social media is a great thing. There are thousands of Blogger.com blogs from Kenya, and tons of traditional music videos from that country as well.

2. What are the pros and cons of the internet and computer technology in Kenya?


  • able to connect with the world

  • providing children a way to get more educated

  • giving Kenyans their own voice

  • allowing the people to become more independant

  • expanding their horizons beyond traditional values

  • the internet has helped Kenya become more globalized

  • helps build businesses to jump start the economy


  • taking away from traditional values

  • some images may be harmful for children to see

  • improper usage could lead to violence, uprising
  • Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Kenya's Reaction to Death of Bin Laden

    As we all know, American Special Forces carried out a mission that killed one of the world's greatest terrorists - Osama Bin Laden. Bin Laden was responsible not only for the 9/11 attacks, but also many others that killed thousands of innocent people. We have America's take on it, but I found it interesting looking at what Kenya had to say about it, here are a few articles to show Kenya's feeling on the death of Bin Laden.

    From The Standard:

    Al-Qaeda Leader Bin Laden Dead - This article is just informing the Kenyan people of what exactly happened, and who did it.

    US Ambassador to Kenya Applauds Osama's Death - here is a quote from Michael Ranneberger, the US Ambassador to Kenya,"They say the last act is the most important, and so I want to say how much satisfaction I personally take, and demonstrate on behalf of my government, that justice has been served through the killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. forces", he continued,"Those victims and their families and loved ones have now received a measure of justice. I well recall the sombre commemoration I hosted for the 10th anniversary of the 1998 bombing. Thus, for me personally – and of course more importantly for the Kenyan people – the killing of Bin Laden provides a sense of closure," he said.

    Kenya's Fear After Bin Laden Death
    Kenya fears of retaliatory attacks, and has decided to strengthen border security and surveillance. Kenya has twice been attacked by Al-Qaeda which claimed the lives of over 250 people. Kenya has said they are worried about the vigilant terrorists who will step into Bin Laden's place, and they are also worried about the hundreds of terrorist organizations that have mutated from Al-Qaeda.

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Kenya on Amnesty International

    Here are just a few links that I found interesting on Amnesty International regarding human rights in the Republic of Kenya






    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Kenya on Reporters Without Borders

    Reporters Without Borders is a website that promotes press freedom across the world. The following are a few links to some stories or charts that I found interesting.

    Kenya's press freedom index ranking over the past few years:

    2010: 70
    2009: 96
    2007: 78
    2006: 118
    2005: 109

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    News Around Kenya

    From The Nation:

    Cigarette Company Opposes Potential Tax Structure - Mastermind Tobacco Kenya is opposed to a new tax regime that the countries government would like to assess to cigarette purchases. Under the new system, cigarettes will be taxed at a fixed rate, but the cigarette company doesn't think it will help with reduced revenue collection from the private sector. Fixed rate taxes on cigarettes are widely endorsed by the World Health Organization, but Mastermind has petitioned Treasury over the issue before finalization.

    From the Standard:

    A Passion for Peacemaking - Superintendant of Police Francis Kooli was born in the conflict ravaged Turkana District, maybe experiencing all that violence at such a young age led him into his peacemaking ways. Kooli recently embarked on a 155 mile walk to raise awareness for blood donation in Kenya. The blood banks in Western Kenya are all but dried up, and Kooli is hoping that his trek will help replenish them.

    Kenyan Investor Shaping Delivery Business - The first multi-restaurant delivery business has been launched in Kenya. Ernie's Delivery Man faced a lot of trouble getting started, but have slowly been reaping the benefits as being the only delivery company in a bustling, urban Kenyan city. Able to deliver to either homes or offices, Ernie's is the one and only middle man between restaurants, businessmen and women, and families who decide they don't want to go out and eat.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Press Freedom in Kenya

    according to Freedom House these are Kenya's press freedom rankings for the last few years:

    Political Rights Score - 4
    Civil Liberties Score - 4
    Status: Partly Free

    The civil liberties score dropped from a 3 to a 4 because of the governments to address abuse by security forces.

    Political Rights Score - 4
    Civil Liberties Score - 3
    Status: Partly Free

    Political Rights Score - 4
    Civil Liberties Score - 3
    Status: Partly Fre

    The political rights rating declined because of the irregularities in the vote-counting that eventually re-elected incumbent candidate Mwai Kibaki.

    Political Rights Score - 3
    Civil Liberties Score - 3
    Status: Partly Free

    Political Rights Score - 3
    Civil Liberties Score - 3
    Status: Partly Free

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    News in Kenya

    From the Daily Nation:

    Interesting story on where wealthy Kenyans children go to school - This article shows where the children of Kenyan government officials, diplomats, CEO's of large businesses and wealthy businessmen go to school, and how much it costs. The school's are equipped with gourmet chef's who create 5-star meals in the dining hall, and living quarters that you would be accustomed to if you stayed at five star hotels. The schools are dedicated to preparing their students to excel academically, pursue excellence in sports, music and the arts, but most importantly, these schools are designed to create globally educated citizens.

    From the East African:

    Inflation Hits Businesses and Homes - Double-digit inflation rates doom the cost of living and business ownership in Kenya. The lack of strong monetary policies in the country has stunted its' economic growth, and therefore, a major inflation has occurred. Kenyan officials are now scrambling to save struggling businesses and devastated homeowners.

    Town of Nakuru Has New Attractions - The town of Nakuru used to be a prime tourist spot in East Africa. Not for its' picturesque skyline, or historical sightseeing destinations, but rather for the great influx of Flamingo's, yes the pink bird, that Nakuru was once, and still is famous for. Now, however, Nakuru is gaining that skyline, as many organizations, and government buildings have been established, allowing this town to have more than one attraction.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Times Topics: Kenya

    The NY Times Topics is a very good source to find information on a great variety of different subjects. The purpose of this blog entry is to describe what I found on the country I am covering for this class.

    Kenya is a country that has been flying under the radar thus far. The most recent article in the NY Times about Kenya is about a Cricket player who is a native of Kenya. Collins Obuya was considered one of the best Cricket players in the world. After his dominating performance in the 2003 World Cup, in which he led the underdog Kenyan team to a surprising semifinal appearance, he fell off the map. Collins is now back in the news for a nearly record setting performance in a match against Australia. Obuya scored 98 runs, but was denied the oft-occuring triple digit score by an Australia team who were determined to stop him. You can read the full story here.

    Another interesting thing I found was the country's overview. It gives a fairly in-depth description of Kenya and the major happenings of that country. It can be found here.

    Many of the other articles related to Kenya are relatively old news. The Times Topics will, however, be a very helpful source for me throughout this blog assignment.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Question 3

    How do different cultures use the mass media?

    Kenya uses the mass media just like us here in America, conforming to the "from the west to the rest" phenomenon.

    Here is a Kenyan Airways commercial, complete with culture, accessibility, and a slogan.


    Also, with the Aids epidemic throughout African nations, this is a Kenyan condom commercial promoting safe sex practices.


    Question 2

    How do people see themselves and their cultures reflected on mass media?

    Kenya's media is a work in progress. They have basic news related television shows run by Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. Their media is one that continues to grow on a regular basis despite the relatively strong restrictions that it faces. Kenya's biggest hurdle for mass media dominance in Africa are the lack of funds, and the conservative nature of their cultures. In Africa, each country has its' own culture, and many times, hundreds of culture's in each country. With so many different tribes, cultures, and living capacities, it is hard to portray Kenya properly through the mass media.

    Kenya is most famous in America for its' great marathon runners. Kenya produces the world's greatest marathon runners, and they dominate much of the world's running scene. Both men and women of Kenya regularly win the biggest marathons such as: The Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Berlin Marathon and the London Marathon. The people of Kenya feel that their culture is not reflected in the best light, however, as their history, food, and music are not reported on much in the mass media.

    The food of Kenya is something that is relatively undiscovered. Due to the vast resources that Kenya possesses, such as rich farmlands, great lakes, and the Indian Ocean, Kenyan cuisine presents endless opportunities. Much of the food in Kenya is fresh - fresh fish, meats, vegetables, grains, and fruit. Tropical fruit, such as mangos, oranges, pineapples, bananas, papayas and pears are all readily available, and a staple of Kenyan diets.

    Kenyan music is based around folk music using a variety of the 40 different dialects that exist in the country. Lately, hip-hop, reggae, rock n' roll, soukous, zouk, and Europop have become extremely popular. The style of music that interests me is Taarab, the word is arabic for "having joy with music". This genre was most popular back in 1928, it is a combination of music from East Asia, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and North Africa all mixed into one.

    Here is a YouTube video depicting this type of music

    Group 3: Question 1

    How do different ethnic groups (or different countries, different cultures) interpret the same media messages?

    A perfect example of showing the way a different country and culture reacted to a large scale media message/event, was Kenya's reaction to the election of our president Barack Obama.


    Despite not being immediately impacted by the election of Obama to the highest office in the United States, Obama's roots in their country made them feel important.

    The country united as one, and celebrated in traditional fashion; even creating a national holiday in honor of Obama's inauguration.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    From The Standard

    • With Libya on the brink of a collapse, any Kibaki-Gaddafi deals hang in the balance

    • A member of Parliament has demanded an inquiry and full disclosure of Kenya's public and secret deals with Libya.

    • 80 Kenyan's who were stranded in Libya throughout the 11-day protests have been evacuated to Egypt.

    • The significance of involvement of Kenyans in Libya has not been fully disclosed, but diplomatic sources have indicated that at least two retired military officers from the Infantry and Air Force are commanding foreign mercenaries in Libya

    As Kenya's General Election Nears, Political Battles Likely to Heat Up

    • It has been three years since the "Grand Coalition" was formed, which means one thing of Kenya: it is only one year from a general election.

    • former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, was forced to step in and deliver a personal letter asking President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to close ranks on the nominations stalemate to lower political temperatures.
    • Many Kenyans have made an attempt to stop Raila from succeeding Kibaki as the next President, joining forces to have a better shot at stopping him.

    Impacts, Conglomeration and the Effects it has on Media in Kenya

    1. What are the main impacts of media conglomeration?

    The media of Kenya is fairly equal as to who owns and runs the newspapers, television stations and radio stations. The one aspect of Kenyan media that is in jeopardy of becoming a conglomeration is the newspapers. Nation Media Group owns 3/4 of the country's print media. They own The Nation, East African, and Taifa Leo. The Standard, Kenya's oldest newspaper, is the only privately owned print media circulation left.

    Television in Kenya is much more equal than the newspapers. Kenya Broadcasting Company (KBC) is probably the largest group in television, but there are plenty of private owned stations. KBC is probably the most widely watched television station in Kenya, but there are six other privately owned stations available for viewers.

    Kenyan Radio is also very open to enterprise and competition. KBC has a news station, and a music station which are widely listened to, but there are many other privately owned options for listeners. There are seven privately owned radio stations that cater to a variety of taste's and languages. There is even a station that targets Nairobi's Asian population.

    2. How is conglomeration affecting other countries, markets?

    Kenya's pseudo-conglomerations are helping other countries and other markets. Their affinity for media sets a framework for other countries to set up their own media identity. A main example of how Kenya's media is helping other countries is that Nation Media Group has all of their newspapers printed in Nairobi. It is giving the people of Nairobi extra job opportunities, and allowing them to see how a newspaper is created.

    3. How is conglomeration affecting your country?

    Because there are still many privately owned options available, I think the conglomeration that Nation Media Group has on print media is a healthy one. Nation Media Group has come up with three amazing newspapers, each of which cover different aspects of what is going on in Kenya. The Standard, which is privately owned, is still the second largest circulation in Kenya, and it still gives some competiton to the three NMG papers.

    4. Can you notice the effects on your country's media?

    So far I have not been able to notice any effects. The Standard is still a very strong newspaper, while television and radio stations are thriving in the shadow of KBC.

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Kenyan Authority Named in Possible Drug Activity

    From The Nation

    Possible Parliamentary drug activity

    A task force has been set-up in Kenya that will investigate the involvement of six members of Kenya's parliament, and a Mombasa business tycoon in relation to a drug baron scandal.

    The investigations are ongoing, and may take a few months, as they must gather information across borders.

    The parliamentary members who are being named in this investigation are vehemently denying the acqusations, and want punishment to those who named them when their innocence is proved.

    Probe turns up no evidence linking six members of Parliament

    Police say their investigation into a drug ring possibly involving high ranking Kenyan officials was compromised because the suspects were named.

    The lack of evidence is due in part to witnesses who are unwilling to give statement's, legal obstacles - such as laws against self-incrimination - and also because all the suspects being investigated denied any involvement.

    The police report suggests that stricter anti-narcotics laws would allow inspections of assets and tax returns of suspected drug traffickers.

    City Hall may lose up to 300 million shillings

    Kenya's City Hall, located in Nairobi, risks losing up to 300 million shillings after the government revoked a title deed it sold to a developer.

    The deed was sold to the private developer, but Lands Minister James Orengo revoked the deed, as that land is only to be used to provide health services to residents, and no one is allowed to occupy it.

    If a settlement is not reached outside of court, the developer could be in line to receive the 300 million shillings if the matter is taken to court.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Introduction to the Media of Kenya

    The media in Kenya is an entity that has grown leaps and bounds throughout recent years. The country contains 47 different counties, each with its' own governing body; which makes for very colorful media outlets. With so many different cultures in such a compact area, Kenya is considered to have Africa's most vibrant newspapers, television, and radio stations.

    Kenya has four newspapers that circulate daily - The Standard, The Nation, Taifa, and The People - these four papers combined have a daily circulation of nearly 400,000.

    The Standard is Kenya's oldest English language newspaper, but not its' most popular. The paper was founded in 1902, and was originally intended for civil servants, and the business community. Ownership and content of The Standard has changed several times over the years, which may be the reason they have lost so many readers. Nevertheless, The Standard has outlasted all other Kenyan newspapers, and still circulates to this day.

    The Nation is Kenya's most popular newspaper based on circulation. 184,000 Kenyan's subscribe to The Nation, and receive it daily. This is also an English language newspaper, and was the first to use an Africanization policy in its' publication.

    Taifa is a Swahili language paper that is operated by the same people who operate The Nation. They use the same reporters and editors, and it has a circulation of 35,000.

    The People is the youngest daily circulating paper that Kenya offers. It started off as a weekly publication, but turned into a daily with a Sunday edition in 1998. By 2002, The People had a circulation of 60,000. The People was founded to take on the stories that The Standard and the Nation refused to report, and its' success will depend on the acceptance of the people of Kenya.

    Kenya also has 10 more non-daily newspapers.

    Kenya has six television stations:

    1. Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) - used mainly for government purposes, but also has a sister station, KBC Metro, that provides entertainment based programs.

    2. Kenya Television Network (KTN) - first station to break away from KBC, originally created to show "activism journalism", but now focuses on business reporting. KTN has had a very positive impact on Kenyan culture.

    3. Nation TV Channel 42 (NTV) - reports on all the happenings in Kenya. Owned by Nation Media Group, Kenya's largest media corporation, several NTV journalists have received CNN's Journalist of the Year Award.

    4. Family TV - a Christian organization that sets out to provide an alternative television source with a religious angle.
    5. Citizen TV (Royal Media) - founded in 1998, Citizen TV broadcasts current event programs as well as entertainment programs.

    6. Sayare TV - Broadcasts Christian and gospel programs

    The main radio station in Kenya is owned by KBC. It broadcasts in English, Swahili and 15 other local languages. Being state owned, the station sticks to politics, and government news, but it will sometimes delve into entertainment news.

    Metro FM, Capital FM and KIIS FM are all privately owned stations in Kenya that are all music based.

    The media in Kenya is an ever-growing business. They now have school's which are devoted to journalism, and many people who have a passion for seeking and reporting. Much more information and statistics on the growth of Kenyan media can found here.