REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT ANNUAL JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE AWARD  (AJEA 2019); AUGUST 9, 2019:

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT ANNUAL JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE AWARD (AJEA 2019); AUGUST 9, 2019:

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT ANNUAL JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE AWARD
(AJEA 2019); AUGUST 9, 2019:
I am honoured to join you at this event where we take stock of the state of our media and reward excellence in journalism. I am equally happy to meet so many friends from this profession in this congregation.
Media Accountability and Good governance, which am informed is the theme for this year, makes for an interesting subject at a very interesting time for our country. These two are at war as we speak.
There is a quiet transition taking place in our country. Many are yet to come to accept or terms with it. It is one of the interesting things happening in our country that Kenyans are counting on the media to capture and explain, accurately and accountably. We are also in the middle of a tug of war on corruption and envisaged constitutional reforms.
We have a corruption war in which suspects have tried to control and shape the narrative and even provide some kind of live feed. Their narrative is that the war is a witch hunt. In an atmosphere that is increasingly getting too charged and too emotional too early, we have seen a war being waged on the reputations of journalists and entire media houses.
So, despite the general calm, we are actually in the middle of a toxic engagement that can be confused and confusing.
I want to begin therefore by acknowledging our media for the courage to steer the conversation back to what really matters. We have seen the media do some exemplary reporting particularly on the emotive subjects of corruption and governance.
Where we have been baited to discuss witch hunt or no witch hunt, the media have pushed back and refocused the debate to the issue of whether we have corruption or not in the first place and whether there is abuse of power and office in this country or not. It is a commendable effort that we have to acknowledge. That did not begin today though.
Over the decades, our media has distinguished itself through bold coverage of issues ranging from corruption to governance to politics and human rights.
That bold exposition has triggered debate that made Kenyans participate actively in the affairs of their country and prevented us from sliding to the abyss like many others in Africa.
You have sustained the crusading tradition that helped this country overcome the single party era and also made us realize a new constitution.
We have been through Goldenberg, Saba Saba riots, the Anglo Leasing and now the dams scandal to mention a few of the mega corruptions that the media have boldly shaped conversation on. It is a glorious tradition that you must continue and safeguard against those who want to trash and trample on it.
Like everywhere else, the media in Kenya are far from perfect. They make big mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes seem deliberate or sponsored to use a Kenyan word while others look like normal human error. Whatever the case, any mistake by the media, no matter the cause, often has grave ramifications. I therefore want to encourage you to always realize that as journalists, you are writers of the early drafts of history.
Historians, biographers and future politicians and other leaders in all fields will draw heavily from the early drafts that you write today.
It is a heavy responsibility you must bear with extreme care, without emotions or feelings.
Like every other public figure, I have occasionally felt maligned and misunderstood by the media.
But I reject the attempt to generalize that into some kind of vendetta and a permanent war against the journalists.
I remain opposed to any kind of threats to or any organized campaign against the credibility of the media or individual journalists.
But let us face it. I know that our media feel embattled right now because of the atmosphere of mistr…

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