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From the fact-checking desk: Week that Moses Kuria, Andrew Kibe and Shabaab trended

  1. Introduction

The trend analysis report provides a detailed examination of the content that made rounds on social media and sheds light on its implications for the media landscape in Kenya. Trending topics during the week included #BlankTapeLecy, Andrew Kibe, and Jalang’o, Allan Chesang, &Moses Kuria and Ruiru, Sponsored Infotrak polls, and Lamu and Alshabaab, #DeadCapital, #EPRA, David Ndii, and Maina Njenga. This analysis covers the period between September 11 and 17, 2023.

  1. Blank Tape Levy

Blank Tape Levy became a trending topic following the announcement by the Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) regarding its imminent implementation. In their official statement, the board confirmed that this levy will be enforced starting from September 15, 2023. This levy represents a nominal charge applied to the sale of blank media and various devices, including CDs, DVDs, USB drives, and smartphones. The levy is payable either at the point of entry into Kenya or at the first manufacturing stage of these items.

Impact on media

Consumers may shift their media consumption patterns. For example, they might opt for streaming services or cloud-based storage solutions to avoid purchasing physical media that incurs the levy. If successful, the levy could help reduce media content piracy in Kenya.

  1. Andrew Kibe

YouTube terminated the account of controversial content creator Andrew Kibe, citing a violation of its terms of service as the grounds. The controversial vlogger had 474,000 subscribers on his channel. The closure irked and excited both his dedicated fanbase and his critics, resulting in his name soaring to the top of trending topics on X. YouTube’s decision to terminate Kibe’s account based on a violation of its terms of service underscores the platform’s commitment to enforce its content policies.

Impact on media

The enforcement of platform policies, such as YouTube’s termination of Kibe’s account, showcases the growing importance of content moderation in the digital media space. Big techs have lately been under pressure to maintain a balance between content moderation and freedom of expression in the fight against harmful content on their platforms.

  1. Jalang’o & Allan Chesang

Lang’ata MP Phelix Odiwuor and Trans Nzoia Senator Allan Chesang on September 12 threatened legal action against blogger Cyprian Nyakundi and Citizen Weekly for libel. The lawmakers demanded a retraction of the defamatory publications linking them to a crime they have denied involvement and demanded unspecified amounts of cash in damages. Nyakundi was singled out for making what the lawmakers considered false and malicious accusations against them in a post on X. However, in a surprising turn of events, Jalang’o, speaking a day later, indicated that he had reconsidered pursuing matter.

Impact on media

This incident underscores the importance of media ethics and responsible journalism. Media outlets are expected to verify information before publication and ensure that their reporting is accurate and fair. Accusations of libel highlight the need for media organisations to adhere to high ethical standards to avoid legal consequences.

  1. CS Moses Kuria’s oil prices

On September 13, Investment, Trade, and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria during a show on Citizen TV made claims regarding the cost of cooking oil in the country. He claimed that the price ranged from Sh230 to Sh240 per litre, a staggering Sh100 lower than the previously reported figure of Sh340 per litre. But Citizen TV’s Eldoret-based reporter, John Wanyama, broadcasted live from a Naivas supermarket outlet in the North Rift town. However, not a single price came close to the ‘authoritative’ figure presented by CS Kuria.

Impact on media

The incident highlighted the role of media in fact-checking and holding public officials accountable. By providing evidence that contradicted Kuria’s claims, Citizen TV demonstrated its commitment to accuracy and truth. The live fact-checking enhances the credibility of the media outlet and journalism.

  1. Lamu, Shabaab and Duale

A viral video depicting al Shabaab militia members maiming and killing innocent civilians in Lamu gained widespread attention on social media. The gruesome footage led citizens to exert pressure on Aden Duale, the Cabinet Secretary for Defence, to resign. The video was purportedly disseminated by agents affiliated with the Somalia-based terror group, possibly as an attempt to instil fear among Kenyans. Subsequently, the Counter Terrorism and Security Intelligence agency took to X to authoritatively confirm that the video was originally recorded in 2022 during a terror attack near the Kwa Omollo bridge construction site, which is part of the LAPSSET Project.

Impact on media

The graphic nature of the video if shared widely on different platforms can lead to fear, anger, and helplessness, particularly among those directly affected or with connections to the victims. Events like this can increase concerns about personal safety and national security. Online spaces have lately become sources of news for some media houses. It serves as a reminder to media houses to always verify information found on social media to minimise harm.


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