A media coverage report released by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), has placed the Kenya Kwanza Coalition flagbearer, Dr. William Ruto, in the lead in media coverage among the presidential candidates.
According to MCK, the latest media monitoring data Reports conducted from the first week of July 2022, shows that Deputy President Ruto’s media coverage volumes stand at 46 per cent against Raila Odinga’s 45 per cent, while that of Roots Party’s George Wajackoyah and Agano Party’s David Mwaure, is at 6 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.
The data shows that DP’s Coalition received 14 per cent mention in print media compared to Raila’s 12 per cent and 61 per cent coverage in radio against Raila’s 58 per cent.
It also indicates that Ruto leads in both print and radio coverage, while Raila retains an edge over the DP on television coverage at 29 per cent against DP Ruto’s 26 per cent.
“The increase in DP Ruto’s media coverage is attributed to his Coalition’s manifesto launch on June 30 and the criticism it received from the opponents,” stated MCK.
In a press statement sent to newsrooms, MCK said Wajackoyah and Mwaure also recorded tremendous increase following the release of their respective manifestos, which has made their presence in media now more pronounced than before.
In the June media coverage Report released by MCK, the Azimio Coalition candidate’s coverage was at its highest peak in the period leading to and after the launch of the coalition’s manifesto. A similar scenario came to play with the Kenya Kwanza Coalition manifesto launch.
The Report also reveals that at least 49 per cent of journalists felt safer and comfortable working with Raila’s Azimio la Umoja Coalition, while 31 per cent with Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Coalition and 17 per cent were comfortable covering Wajackoya’s Root Party.
MCK says, “The discomfort by media has been attributed to frequent removal of journalist from Ruto’s functions among them, the Parties National Delegates Conference and public gatherings in Njoro, Nakuru County”.
The Council also cited the fears by the DP to boycott the upcoming presidential debate organized by Media Owners’ Association, the Kenya Editors Guild and the Media Council of Kenya and the boycotting of a meeting by United Democratic Alliance senior communication team, which was convened by Media Council to forge a working relationship with pollsters, editors and political party communication teams in June, where it sent junior staff as some of the reasons journalists were uncomfortable covering his Kenya Kwanza functions.
As regards the safety of journalists, MCK has called upon all political formations and contestants, to assure the media on the safety of all members of the Fourth Estate covering campaigns during this electioneering period.
MCK stressed that harassing, profiling journalists and denying journalists access to events, is an affront to press freedom and a violation of Kenyans’ right to information
The Council reaffirmed that as the country’s media regulator, it will not relent in its quest for a free and fair media, that is governed by ethos as enshrined in the Media Council Act, 2013 and assured of its commitment to continue training journalists, media practitioners and creatives on various aspects of elections reporting, to boost professionalism.
Meanwhile, MCK has trained a total of 2,500 journalists in preparation for the August 9, 2022 election.
By Bernadette Khaduli