10 Things to know about Uhuru’s ‘beef’ with the print media
The Jubilee Government’s relationship with the media seems to have deteriorated to an all-time low with President Uhuru Kenyatta disparaging remarks about newspapers and meat wrapping.
Nairobi News details a few interesting facts on this long-drawn battle pitting the President and watu wa magazeti aka “meat wrappers”.
1. This is the third time in his two and a half year rule that President Kenyatta is publicly referring to newspapers as “meat wrappers.”
2. President Kenyatta’s Deputy President William Ruto has also in the past publicly insinuated that “Gazeti ni ya kufunga nyama” (newspapers are for wrapping meat).
3. Despite the “meat wrapping” comments, President Kenyatta’s family has extensive interests in the media industry in Kenya.
4. Interestingly, President Kenyatta and Ruto’s personal assistants Munyori Buku and David Mugonyi respectively, are former print journalists – or in the two leaders’ own words “meat wrappers”.
5. All the Jubilee Government’s announcements and communication are relayed to Kenyans through the media.
6. President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto have a dedicated press team at their disposal. The various team’s cover upto 95 percent of the duo’s official functions with the attached expenditure running into tens millions of shillings annually.
7. The Government also publishes an official paper known as the Kenya Gazette which is available for sale.
8. President Kenyatta has separately accused the media of publishing stories and pictures that “are perceived to support terrorism”. The President has also publicly stated that he “doesn’t even read newspapers” and is instead, informed of most of the current affairs by his deputy Ruto.
9. Last year, the Jubilee-dominated Parliament passed the Security Laws (Amendment) Bill which among other issues, attempted to curtail publication of security-related stories by the media. Besides, only last month, two journalists were hospitalised for days after reportedly being assaulted by armed security agents in Kilifi County.
10. The three largest media houses in Kenya, Nation Media Group, Royal Media Services and Standard Group, went off air for a couple of weeks, in the wake of a stand-off with the Government on the modalities of implementing digital migration.