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Now Jackie Maribe is state employee, now she isn’t

Introduction

It was an eventful week with interesting conversations online. Some of the trending topics on social media platforms included the intriguing saga surrounding Jacque Maribe’s purported state appointment, Jowie Irungu’s sentencing, Mammito’svideo that left many Kenyans ruffled, the drop in fuel prices, and PS Kisiangani.

Kisiangani’s ads order

On March 8, 2024, Edward Kisiangani, the Principal Secretary for Broadcasting and Telecommunications directed that all government TV and radio adverts be exclusively transmitted through KBC. This announcement prompted vehement reactions from the Kenya Media Sector Working Group, who castigated the decision. Eric Oduor, secretary general of the Kenya Union of Journalists, condemned the directive as a “blatant assault on the very foundation of a free and democratic society.” Similarly, Zubeidah Kananu, president of the Kenya Editors Guild, said while reviving KBC is important, the government should not stifle other media entities. She said the government has yet to fully pay private media for advertisements.

Impact on media

The PS’s decision to have all government advertisements on KBC is pegged on efforts by the state to revive the struggling national broadcaster. The declaration will have impact on other media outlets and cause financial strain due to decreased advertising revenue, leading to a reduction in media plurality. The directive raises concerns about media freedom and independence, according to KMSWG. By affecting advertising revenue flow, there’s a risk of government interference in editorial content and decision-making processes across the media sector, potentially compromising journalistic integrity.

Jacque Maribe

On March 11, 2024, Jacque Maribe sparked a social media frenzy when reports surfaced claiming her appointment as head of communications in the Ministry of Public Service, Performance and Delivery Management. However, the Public Service Commission swiftly refuted these claims on March 14. Chairperson Anthony Muchiri clarified that no such appointment had been made and that the board had not received any employment application from Maribe. This development occurred in the wake of Maribe’s recent acquittal in the 2019 murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani. Jacque Maribe dominated social media discussions for over 16 hours, amassing 10,000 tweets during the trending period.


Impact on media

Instances like this can affect the trust that the public places in media outlets. If initial reports turn out to be inaccurate or misleading, it may lead to scepticism regarding the credibility and reliability of those sources. The rapid spread of information on social media platforms can shape public discourse and influence perceptions. This situation highlights the need for media literacy and critical thinking skills among users to discern between reliable information and misinformation. The media should be cautious about reports shared on social media, prioritising accuracy.

Jowie, Monica & Grace Nzioka

On March 13, 2024, the sentencing of Joseph Irungu aka Jowie took centre stage across social media platforms. His co-accused, former TV presenter Jacque Maribe, was acquitted on February 9. High Court Judge Grace Nzioka handed down a death sentence to Jowie for the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani. Jowie dominated the trends, securing the top spot with 25,000 tweets, maintaining this position for over 10 hours. Meanwhile, Monica Kimani trended at #3 for more than eight hours.

    

Impact on media

High-profile criminal cases often attract significant public interest. Jowie’s case has made headlines for a while. The extensive coverage of Jowie’s sentencing led to increased audience engagement across various social media platforms including television, newspapers, online news sites, and social media channels. X experienced higher online traffic as people sought updates while others provided analyses of the case.

Mammito

Comedian Eunice Mammito faced backlash after sharing a skit on her social media platforms, seemingly trivialising Jowie’s death sentence. While the gravity of Jowie’s conviction weighed heavily on public consciousness, Mammito opted to create a skit that sparked widespread condemnation from Kenyan audiences.


Impact on Media

The incident has the potential to influence public perceptions of media personalities and their credibility. If a comedian or any other media figure is seen as crossing ethical boundaries by trivialising serious issues, it can erode trust with their audience and damage their reputation as a reliable source of entertainment or information.

The incident underscores the power of social media in amplifying controversies and shaping public discourse. Social media platforms serve as a catalyst for spreading content rapidly and mobilising public opinion, highlighting the need for media personalities to exercise caution and sensitivity in their online interactions.

Drop in petrol price

On March 14, 2024, Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority published the latest pump prices, highlighting notable decreases. This announcement prompted a huge sigh of relief among Kenyans.


Impact on Media

The announcement led to engagement across various social media platforms. People are generally interested in news that directly affects their daily lives, such as changes in fuel prices, and would actively seek out information about it. This heightened attention could benefit media outlets by attracting more audience traffic and potentially increase advertising revenue. The media did not provide the broader economic impact on the fuel price reduction to the public, including its potential effect on inflation, the cost of living and overall economic growth.

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