Media and Corruption – PressClub/Media Forum

A4T Media Forum

The Action for Transparency project in partnership with the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), organised a media forum/Press Club on the 26th of March 2019 at the Sarova Stanley Hotel, Nairobi, to discuss Media and Corruption, and its role in promoting public interest.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) – Noordin Haji was the guest speaker. Other speakers included, US Ambassador to Kenya Klye McCarter, Multi-sectoral Initiative Against Corruption Dr. Wilfred Kiboro, Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Allen Gichuhi, Media Council of Kenya CEO David Omwoyo, NMG’s Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu and Transparency International Kenya’s Communication and Civic Engagement Officer Abraham Mariita.

Churchill Otieno, KEG president appreciated the timely nature of the meeting, due to the current agenda on corruption that has been taking place in media. He gave a brief history of press club and informed the participants that KEG brings together the most senior print, magazine, broadcast and other electronic media editors including committing themselves to a programme of action to defend and promote media freedom and independence.

US Ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Kyle McCarter highlighted that he stands firm against corruption and urged the media to resist unethical influence. He challenged the participants that it is time to have critical conversations around corruption and how corrupt elements interfere in the media such that they are not able to exercise their freedom freely. He also recognised that the fight against corruption has been facing challenges over the years as those that have been benefiting from this plundering wish nothing more that to make the entire process fail in pursuit of the truth.

The ambassador reiterated that the fight against corruption is in front of all societies today, including the United States and Kenya who should have challenging conversations to address the need for reconciliation among races and tribes. He also urged the media to shield itself from graft and must resist attempts by those who want to influence them in an unethical way. McCarter emphasised that everyone has a role to play and should do their part to dismantle the culture of corruption and appreciated that together we will make a stand and we will make a difference.

Representing TI-Kenya’s perspective, Abraham Mariita highlighted that TI-Kenya encourages media to continue with its role in promoting transparency and accountability by training and investing in investigative journalism in order to increase exposure of corrupt practices in our society.

He mentioned that media should also desist from acts that could compromise its integrity and not allow itself to be pushed to acts of self-censorship by advertisers and government agencies, who withhold ad-revenue because of unfavourable coverage. He also encouraged media managers to balance their quest for profit against acting as a watchdog for the people.

Mariita added that, under the Action for Transparency project, TI-Kenya has continued to support training of journalists in investigative reporting, and has provided grants and mentorship to several others journalists, who have been able to produce investigative stories on corruption.

Speaking at the same event, Dr. Wilfred Kiboro, stated that corruption consists more of bankruptcy, lack or morals and unethical character. He elaborated that the main roles of the media are; a public watch dog and should hold those in authority to account, and that media is there to support the society and not the government. He raised a major concern that the Kenyan citizens have put “thieves” as leaders due to their political experience as compared to character.

Key guest speaker, DPP Noordin Haji started by saying that Kenya craves for a free and independent media and encouraged media to report freely and independently. Mr. Haji encouraged the media to strive in curbing the vice against all odds responsibly as they are effective and a necessary ally for exposing and preventing corruption. He also pointed out that in a democratic society, it is wise to employ investigative journalism to reveal inequities and violations occurring in the society and highlighted that the members of the 4th estate have the opportunity to educate the public to aid the work in which the investigative journalists have done over the years.

He highlighted that the government has so far recovered more than Ksh16 billion in the ongoing corruption purge which is the amount recovered from April last year and was expected to be much more after the completion of active cases involving State agencies, ministries and county governments.

When asked by a member of the press about his sentiments if the freedom of the press is a constitution imperative, the DPP mentioned that, the media is free to practice their roles freely, but they should do so in a responsible manner.

Another reporter asked what the office of the DPP doing to ensure safety of the journalists. Mr Haji mentioned that his office has not received any complaint and assured the audience that the media should not be afraid to report freely due to threats and if anyone is experiencing threats, his office is willing to receive an official letter and follow it through.

Mr, Samuel Maina (Kenya Editors Guild), ended the meeting by stating that the luncheon was a great step in providing a platform to the media to air out their concerns and encouraged the participants to engage more after the meeting as the fight against corruption is possible if it is done together as a team.

The luncheon meeting was well attended with over 100 participants including; CEO Media Council of Kenya – David Omwoyo, Executive Director (Association of Media Women in Kenya) – Marceline Nyambala, Law Society of Kenya President (LSK) – Allen Gichuhi, US Ambassador to Kenya – H.E Kyle McCarter, EU Ambassador to Kenya – H.E Stephano Dejak, Ambassador for Portugal – H.E. Luisa Fragoso, Australian High Commissioner to Kenya – H. E Alison Chatres, German Embassy (Press officer) – Alexander Puk, senior editors from different media houses including Nation Media Group, Standard Media Group, Royal Media Services, Media Max and Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya Union of Journalists Secretary General – Eric Oduor, Kenya Correspondents Association Chair – Oloo Janak, journalists, among other media stakeholders.

More photos available HERE. 

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Kickstart of the Eye on Corruption Mentorship


The Eye on Corruption project geared up its activities for journalists’ grant and mentorship through a Mentor-matching exercise that took place on 15th February 2019 at Hilton Hotel. The grant and mentorship program is aimed enabling journalists receive funding to pursue investigate stories on systemic corruption in government and receive expert mentorship from renowned journalists.


10 journalists will be participating in this 6-month programme where they will also receive mentorship from four local experts namely: Marceline Nyambala – Executive Director, Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), Frenny Jowi – Freelance journalist and Media consultant, Victor Bwire – Deputy CEO and Head of Strategy, Media Council of Kenya (MCK), Wellingtone Nyongesa – Editor, Standard Group. The journalists will also be mentored by renowned Swedish Investigative journalists  Nils Resare and Carolina Jemsby of Eye on Corruption.



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REVEALED: How CDF-funded school bus was branded with ODM, Wiper colours


Amina Wako, journalist and A4T grantee, has been investigating misuse of Constituency Development Funds (CDF) in Embakasi South Constituency & has found shocking revelations on how the funds meant for development of Mukuru Kwa Njenga primary school were misused.

Amina reveals that, the then CDF committee decided to purchase a bus for the school, in spite of numerous challenges being experienced like lack of pipped water, classrooms and perimeter wall.

Read the story HERE.

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The RoGGKenya Award – Call for entries

The RoGGKenya Award

RoGGKenya invites journalists working in Kenya to a competition about reporting on good governance topics.

Eligible publications are based on the information and inspiration of news or toolbox articles on The articles / stories / broadcast programs entered must exhibit professionalism and inclination to promote good governance as provided for by the Constitution. They should be fact-oriented, not just general opinion and entail exclusive information that the author has gathered, but not by just interviewing opinion-leaders.

All work that has been published or broadcast in Kenyan media before 31st March, 2019 can be submitted. The awards will be given in a ceremony in May 2019, Nairobi County.
Submissions in all languages used in Kenyan media will be considered, but kindly provide a synopsis in English, if your work was not published in English or Swahili.

Submission guidelines
  • Submissions will be taken online only, in the submission form via the link below.
  • With your submission, explain in detail how in the process of producing your media product the website was useful for you.
  • Include the link or a pdf copy or an audio file or a video file with your online application and add details about the publication date as well as your personal details and what your role was in the production of the publication.

Incomplete submissions or those who do not meet the minimum requirement will not be considered.

  • Television
  • Radio, including live programs and prerecorded programs
  • Print and Online

In each category three prices will be awarded:
Laptop (1st price), Tablet (2nd price), Smartphone (3rd price)

Submission deadline for entries is 31stMarch, 2019. To view the application form and possible additional details visit:

What RoGGkenya is is a joint project by  Article 19 Eastern Africa, Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO), Kenya Correspondents’ Association and Transparency International Kenya, supported by DW Akademie.

The website is aimed at encouraging fact-based and impartial reporting on good governance and corruption in Kenya. It points to original sources, provides reporting ideas and gives hints on how to follow-up on specific stories that are in the news.


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NHIF Heist: Blowing cover on how millions are swindled through fictitious private hospital claims

Brian Obuya

A4T grantee and  KTN journalist, Brian Obuya, has published a story that he has been investigating on fraudulent claims that have cost millions of shillings at the National Hospital Insurance fund.

A report that was done by the Ethics and Anti – Corruption Commission (EACC) unveiled that NHIF subscribers were paying 5000 percent more in order to get medical attention at some of the medical facilities.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr. Noordin Haji said that, the systems have been charging more than what is required and main concerns have been noted on social responsibility problems and benefits.

Witnesses also said that, many registered medical practitioners who are involved and are part of a cartel that forges patient statements claiming to have received various treatments and procedures.

For more information, click here to view the story that was broadcasted at KTN.

To check your NHIF account status via your mobile phone:
Compose a new sms, Type the letters “ID”, a space, then your ID number (or passport number if applicable) e.g ID 12345678. Send to 21101. Note: Charge for this service is Kshs 10 only.

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Media Forum on Gender and Corruption


The Action for Transparency project organised a media forum for journalists and other media practitioners on 27th November 2018 at Nairobi Safari Club Hotel. The forum was centred on discussing the intricate relation of Gender and Corruption; and how women in media can promote better representation of gender inequality in the consequences of corruption.

According to Sida’s report, Corruption and gender inequality are in many ways closely connected. Men and women are affected by corruption in different ways and are subjects and objects of different corrupt practices and behaviours. Gender inequality breeds corruption and vice versa: corruption tends to exacerbate gender inequalities. Many forms of corruption affect both women and men but given the unequal gender relations in society women are in many settings more exposed to corruption and its consequences.

Media can play an important role in promoting gender equality, however, there is widespread unbalanced gender representation in the media.  According to a Media Council of Kenya report on Gender Equality, there are fewer females than males in almost all forms of the media and where there are few women in the media; they are often portrayed in typical stereotypical ways.

31 Journalists from various media organisations participated in the forum and the panelist included: Caroline Gaita – Transparency International Kenya (TI Kenya), Marceline Nyambala – Association of Media Women of Kenya (AMWIK), Lorine Onyango – Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and Stellar Murumba – Code for Kenya (WanaData – Ke).

Amongst the issues raised were that women are vulnerable and suffer the most where corruption is most endemic and, in most cases, women are the most affected and also, the media uses their faces to highlight corruption.

According to the world economic forum report 2017, a Kenyan woman is paid Ksh.55 for every Ksh.100 paid to man for doing a similar job. Another study also shows that women are less corrupt and when you have more women as representatives then there is more development.

It was also noted that female journalists are less likely to receive bribes. This is in line with the assumption that women should always hold high standards in their places of work. A journalist (like many other journalists) shared that she is a victim of cyber-bullying and life-threatening messages on social media as she was trying to shed more light on a corruption case. She also pointed out that rarely do you find women in top levels of leadership in newsrooms and in most cases, it is through bribes such as money or sexual favours.

The panelist asked the journalists to use social media as it is a powerful tool and reaches a wider range in a short period of time. They were also challenged to take up other aspects in journalism such as stories related to human rights, crime etc. and not look at this as an only a man’s field and urged them to also shed light on stories that are targeted towards development as there are so many positive activities happening that the public is not aware about. The journalists should also strike a balance while reporting i.e. that they should always give two sides of a story and while doing so should also practice integrity and create a brand that they would want to be known for.

It was also noted that the journalists need more safe spaces/forums to talk about corruption with influencers in media, community and churches and through this, corruption will also reduce in their places of work. More trainings should also be implemented in the slum areas to raise awareness on concerns attached to corruption as the journalists are at the forefront on media empowerment.

In light of this, Media Council of Kenya organising trainings to raise awareness and teach journalists on integrity as well as get involved in reporting corruption cases.  Indeed, there is also an on-going concern on the protection and safety of the reporters and whistle-blowers, hence MCK assures that their main purpose is to promote and protect the freedom and independence of media and prescribe standards of journalists, media practitioners and media enterprises.


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Eye on Corruption Investigative Journalists Training


The Eye on Corruption (EoC) project in collaboration with Action for Transparency (A4T) recently organised a two-day training for leading investigative journalists. This training was aimed at improving knowledge and building capacity on reporting on suspected corruption in Kenya. The training also connected Kenyan journalists specialised in covering corruption with journalists in Sweden as well as improve knowledge and user skills of tools to uncover corruption.

Nine journalists participated in the training, which included training on methods on investigative journalism and review of foreign aid such as use of digital tools and research databases that are easily accessible online that could help track foreign aid.

The training was mainly steered by two renowned investigative journalists, Caroline Jemsby and Nils Rosare who have been involved on large investigative reports such as the Panama papers and reports on arms smuggling into Syria.

The journalists were also given an opportunity to partner with EoC journalists in investigating various corruption cases with hope to strengthen cross-border networks and with an aim of producing high impact investigative stories, that will be published locally and in Sweden.


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Mothers ignorant of Linda Mama miss out on free delivery services

Diana Kendi

In October 2016, the government, through the Health ministry, launched the Linda Mama, Boresha Jamii programme under the National Hospital Insurance Fund. The aim was to ensure pregnant women and infants have access to quality and affordable health services. Diana Kendi, A4T grantee, investigation highlights the lack of awareness of the program amongst mothers in Nairobi, Kajiado and Kiambu counties.

Since the introduction of the programme, county hospitals no longer receive cash for providing maternity services, but the funds to cater for the free maternity are paid through the NHIF as reimbursements for services offered or a better package for women.

Read more at The Star Newspaper.

Read more at The Star Newspaper.

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Toxic sip: How safe is your bottled water?


A4T grantee, and award winning journalists, Stellar Murumba, has published a story she has been investigating on the safety of bottled water being sold in Nairobi.

Four out of 10 samples of bottled water picked from different areas of Nairobi that were submitted for analysis at the government chemist, were found to be unfit for human consumption. The sampled water had high levels of fluoride – in excess of the World Health Organisation guideline limits of 0.3 parts per mililitre (ppm) for drinking water. They also had high levels of iron and were alkalinity.

Despite the immense health risks associated with excessive chemical components in drinking water, Kenya Bureau of Standards Corporate Communication Manager Patricia Kimanthi said that any water available in the market is compliant as per the Kenya and East Africa Community minimum and maximum standards.

Read Stellar Murumba’s article at the Daily Nation, Healthy Living, September 25, 2018. Click here for the online article.

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How media can avoid legal pitfalls in their work

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by Victor Bwire

In an effort to balance many interests — including public interest which is the most important — the media sometimes report on issues which might increase the possibility of legal suits and harassment.

An example is the ongoing exposés of corruption in the public and private sectors.

As the media intensify efforts to expose graft, impunity and misuse of public resources, harassment and intimidation of journalists — including using courts which have been issuing huge defamation awards against media houses — are on the rise.

The search for documentary evidence and facts around public interest stories, particularly those that touch on plunder of public resources, has also become increasingly perilous for journalists.

It is for that reason that journalists need allies to partner with in the search for information to enable them generate accurate stories and avoid legal pitfalls.

Journalists and media houses would greatly insulate themselves from harassment, including judicial processes, if they adhered to the provisions in the Access to Information Act which requires that they write to relevant public agencies requesting for specific information.

They can also access information on open portals such as online platforms operated by public agencies or private citizens who comment on public matters.

The access and use of a myriad of ICT platforms and information posted on open data portals by public agencies has rendered access to important information that journalists need in their investigative work much easier and less expensive.

Platforms such as public agencies websites, the Kenya Open Data Portal, Integrated Financial Management Systems and social media accounts of government departments and public officials has increased the avenues for access to information that can help in holding government to account. 

A number of players have also come up with ways to enhance the availability of information which journalists can tap into to enrich their stories with facts and depth.

Institutions like Transparency International through interventions such as the Accountability for Transparency project (A4T) have come up with tools that empower members of the public to play a role in corruption prevention and monitoring.

In addition, the project has been mentoring journalists on use of various investigative skills, ICT tools and organising trainings by experienced journalists on how to investigate and produce in-depth stories.

Kenya is among the leading countries in use of web and mobile technologies.  The country had close to 95 per cent mobile penetration as at December 2017 with an uptake of smartphones was at 44 per cent and an internet usage of close to 50 per cent of the population.

Kenyans also have high presence on social media platforms at 49 per cent of population. This signifies the high potential for using these platforms to enhance transparency and accountability with the involvement of a majority of citizens.

This article was first published at the People Daily Newspaper, you can view this an more via this LINK—The writer is the programmes officer  at the Media Council of Kenya and a journalists safety trainer —

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