We live in a modern age where the media is increasingly dominated by fake news, alternative facts, contradictions and incomplete information. This has made people very skeptical about news sources both the traditional newspaper and digital media alike. While some journalists have braved hostile climates to unearth the true facts about certain events and happenings, others have been coerced into misrepresenting the true facts, especially when it comes to reporting about powerful people and the government.
Over the years, we’ve relied on newspapers among other news channels to provide us with comprehensive reports on the various rots in our country including the shameful corruption in various government ministries and parastatals.
An example is the Daily Nation newspaper which has gained recognition and acknowledgement from various organizations across the continent for their commitment in search for the truth. In December 2017, the newspaper won top honors in the Fact checking awards held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Through the complex data analysis especially when it comes to questioning the use of public funds, The Nation Newsplex team is able to find facts that inform the public debate.
Through Nation Newsplex, which is a data journalism desk, the newspaper has been monitoring local media and human rights reports, Independent policing oversight authority and human rights organizations websites and social media accounts to track cases of people killed by the police and the circumstances surrounding their deaths which are normally kept on the hush.
There has been very wide public debate on police brutality and extrajudicial killings with contradicting information from the government and civil societies of just how much damage has been meted on citizens by the police. In a project entitled Deadly Force, Database and series, the newspaper records all the deaths from police encounters in the country. The project relies on information and reports from the public, including individuals, media, private and public organizations. In one of their reports the team found out that the police in Kenya had killed 122 people from January to August 2016. On many occasions this information would never have seen the light of day but due to the newspaper’s commitment to the truth, the public gets to know, and necessary investigations set up.
When news broke out about the loss of billions of money at the National Youth Service, the daily nation team was on the fore- front when it came to unearthing the perpetrators of the infamous NYS scandal as well. The newspaper team worked tirelessly day and night, to uncover information to meet the public’s demand for answers. Through their special investigations team, they were able to unmask the names of some of the companies and individuals that were under investigation over the loss of the Ksh 9 billion as well as the firms who gained at the National Youth service (NYS).
Sometimes news providers who try to provide truth-telling news have always done so in very hostile environments regardless of the risks involved in order to provide credible and unbiased information. In the operation Dubbed ‘Operation Linda Nchi’, the government sent Kenyan troops beyond the border to our neighboring country, Somalia to try and bring an end to the terror group’s activities. This resulted into a lot of deaths due to a steep increase in terrorist attacks since October 2011 for both countries.
Many people were left craving for answers as unsubstantiated rumors about the governments real intention in Somalia quickly spread over social media. Luckily, the Daily nation newspaper journalists braved the war-ton country to give Kenyans a firsthand account of how the war had affected the country, how the soldiers were affected, the exact fatality rates as well as the international community’s reactions and opinion on the war. Most of the articles contradicted what both the government and the terror group had initially stated. With the help of Daily Nation newspaper, the country got to know all the facts as they were without being distorted to benefit the agendas of the Alshabaab or the GOK.
This year has seen the different government ministries marred by corruption scandals and the media being at the forefront in unearthing them. Just a couple of months ago the Daily Nation newspaper reported on the Youth Enterprise Development Fund scandal. The newspaper revealed how the development fund used Ksh 42 million for an event that was canceled at the last minute leading to taxpayers losing their money. Despite the event being cancelled, the newspaper revealed to the public that the fund paid 370 delegates from across the country Ksh 3,822,000 for transport and accommodation allowances.
The media needs to be at the forefront in providing the facts and calling out the lies. This is 2018, a year when people deeply care about credible and quality news and information. Let us readers punish fake news and reward good journalism when and if it deserves.