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Media boom in Kenya and celebrity galore

Autor: Maurice N. Amutabi
Revista: Journal of African Cultural Studies Nº 25 (1)

In the past twenty years, Kenya has witnessed an explosion of many private television stations and numerous FM radio stations, creating a cacophony of sounds, similar to the biblical Tower of Babel.

Kenya's media have certainly played a substantial role in mediating relationship ps between citizens and state, in shaping the democratic dispensation in the country and have transformed how some of the marginalized people in society access information on issues that shape their lives. At the same time, the liberalization of the media has had some rather more problematic effects. Although there is a code of conduct for journalists, this code is often not followed – especially in the case of entry level journalists.

The widely popular local radio stations, broadcasting in local languages, often encourage ethnic conflict. The national broadcaster, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) often falls short of the standard of a public interest information service because of its bias and partiality in reporting politics. An important issue for the future of the press is also the extensive cross-media ownership in Kenya, with certain media houses owning newspapers, television and radio stations.

By bringing the various examples of the boom in media together, this contribution provides a basis for rethinking of media as a self-serving and self-destructing responsibility, as well as the changes necessary to orient media to the day-to-day aspirations of Kenyans.