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Who got it right on Chinese arrests?

Detectives arrested Chinese nationals last week in Nairobi. They were reportedly engaged in running brothels. How many were the Chinese? The Standard, Daily nation, Star and Citizen TV on their digital platforms reported 15.

But on Thursday the number for Nation and Standard had gone down to 12. How did that happen? Who was the source of the information? Who did the count to 15 and later scaled it down to 12? What was the information given by the director of Immigration Alexander Muteshi?

Accounts of the arrest also varied. The Standard story read: “The two were on a watch list on suspicion of being involved in prostitution and illegal gambling.” But the Nations reported: “According to the police, one of the arrested men was on the watch list since May 2017 on suspicion of being involved in prostitution and illegal gambling in the country.” Citizen and The Star on the other hand did not mention anything in relation to the two accounts.

Over-reliance on press statements without further investigation bedevils media practice. The Observer has in the past urged journalists to dig before rushing a story.

Were the arrested Chinese nationals running brothels? How do we know? What is the evidence?

A few weeks ago police raided China Global Television Network and detained several workers in a crackdown on illegal immigrants. But they were later be released, with police claiming they acted on a wrong tip off.

It is not enough that police or some other authority said something. Try to verify everything.

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