Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba
The Council of Governors (CoG) has criticised media houses, saying coverage of devolution matters has not been objective.
At the same time, the national government has defended its decision to deny media houses advertising, saying it costs a lot yet there are no returns.
At the Fourth Annual Devolution Conference in Naivasha, Nakuru County, governors reviewed headlines of daily publications since the inception of devolution and complained that nothing positive had been highlighted.
They accused the media of only focusing on the negatives, creating an impression among Kenyans that devolution was failing and only provided an avenue for people to loot from public coffers.
Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Principal Secretary Sammy Itemere said commercial media had given them a raw deal and urged the governors to make use of MyGov (Government’s portal) to inform the public.
But in a quick rejoinder, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chairman Francis ole Kaparo, Association of Media Women in Media (AMWIK) Rose Lukalo-Owino and Media Council of Kenya (MCK) chairman Charles Kerich, differed with the governors, saying philanthropic coverage would only run the media industry out of business.
In a charged plenary where headlines of leading media houses in Kenya obtained from the national archives were shown at the conference, Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba lashed out at the media, faulting their reportage, which he said did not reflect the truth at the county level.
“Our overall analysis shows that media only focuses on the negatives. Kenyans have not been shown what devolution has done despite the numerous successes seen,” lamented the governor.
But Ms Lukalo disagreed, saying the media only responds to the public.
“The media monitor sales on a daily basis. It gives the public what they want to hear and maintain sales. If they do philanthropic work, they would close shop,” she said.
Kaparo told off governors over media coverage.