Abraham Mariita

Media

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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ActivitiesMedia

Kickstart of the Eye on Corruption Mentorship

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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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Media

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

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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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Media

Media Forum on Gender and Corruption

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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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Media

Eye on Corruption Investigative Journalists Training

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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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Activities

A4T Roadshow – Eastlands

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On the 6th of October 2018, the A4T team was in Dagoretti area of Nairobi for its 2nd roadshow with an objective of  empowering citizens in this area to participate in governance processes of public funds in health and education, and to report suspected corruption through the Action for Transparency mobile App.

 

Among the team was a representation from Mtaani Radio, a community radio station based in Dagorreti, that the A4T team had partnered with in order to mobilise and publicise A4T Roadshow. The procession headed along Ngong road and made several stop-over’s around, Kaberia, Wanyee, Kikuyu Road, Ndonyo, Kawagware, and Kawagware 56. All stops were marked with dance,  entertainment and a lot of awareness building by the MC about the right of citizens to know and participate in public budgetary processes.

 

 

A4T Roadshow in Eastlands, Nairobi

 

The A4T project organised a roadshow in Eastlands area – Kamukunji – Starehe – Makadara – Buruburu – Outering road – Karibangi – Dandora and Juja Road on 24th November 2018. The roadshow’s objective was to inform and empower citizens in this area to participate in governance processes of public funds in health and education, and to report suspected corruption through the Action for Transparency mobile App.

This roadshow involved partnering with Ghetto Radio who helped in mobilisation of  participants through presenter mentions and a radio interview. Ghetto Radio is an urban radio station that is popular in Nairobi and its environs, especially amongst young people.

The caravan begun at Ngara, and then proceeded to Starehe Pumuani area and was a companied by a team of six members from Ghetto radio in their branded van. The first stop was at Majengo area near Gikomba market where many traders of second-hand clothing frequent. At this stop, the team assisted with four A4T advocates, was able to sensitise the public about the A4T project, and some of the participants were helped to download the A4T App into their mobile phones.

The procession headed to Shauri Moyo, Bama Market and Bahati area, making several stops where there was high pedestrian traffic.  During the stops, the MC briefed the people passing, over the public-address system about the roadshow, sensitising them on the importance of participating in budgetary processes and reporting corruption. It then continued to Maringo, Jericho, Makadara, Buruburu, and at Kariobangi South. Here, more people were reached and some given opportunity to speak over the public address system to share their sentiments about fighting corruption. During these stops, Ghetto Radio did live links, where it interviewed TI-Kenya Staff and advocate, which was live broadcasted in order to reach mass audience in awareness creation.

 

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HealthMedia

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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Health

Civil Society Ranks Jubilee as the Most Corrupt Administration

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TI-Kenya’s Executive Director, Mr. Samuel Kimeu with other civil society organisations marked this years’ African Anti-Corruption Day in 11th July 2018., asking the government to remain accountable in dealing with corruption suspects, and Kenyans to remain vigilant in the fight against corruption.

Video Curtesy of NTV.

 

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HealthMedia

Toxic sip: How safe is your bottled water?

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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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Health

How medical negligence is robbing families of loved ones

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Osman Mohamed Osman, A4T Investigative grantee, has been investigating cases of medical negligence in Kenya and the agony many citizens have had to go through without any remedy, which has led to loss of life. This article highlights what families are left to deal with after some medical negligence. Most doctors accused of causing permanent disabilities and death, are left unpunished due to poor investigations or lack of commitment from the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Board (KMPDU).

Read below Osman’s investigative piece on the Standard Newspaper, September 24, 2018, page 10-11. Click here.

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