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Uproar as Nakhumicha hands striking doctors bitter bill

Introduction

This trend analysis report explores the impactful narratives on social media that have formed the basis of discussions on mainstream media. The trending topics are picked from X, Meta, Tiktok and other platforms. The topics highlighted in this report include #NakumichaMustGo, DJ Joe Mfalme, Rita Tinina, doctors’ strike, Kenyatta University, and Housing Bill.

X

 #NakhumichaMustGo

The hashtag #NakhumichaMustGo surged to the top spot, with over 18,000 tweets for more than 26 consecutive hours. This uproar followed the Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha’s suggestion of unpaid medical internships.

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Impact on media

The controversy generated extensive media coverage across various platforms including news websites, television, radio, and social media. Media outlets reported on the developments, analysed the statements made by Susan Nakhumicha, provided context to the situation, and offered opinions and perspectives from experts and stakeholders. Social media platforms serve as both a source of news and a space for public discourse. Media outlets may actively monitor social media trends, incorporate user-generated content into their reporting, and engage with their audience’s reactions and comments to enhance their coverage. From the posts online, there were narratives and counter-narratives targeting the CS. The media ought to professionally tackle the issue without any bias.

FACEBOOK

DJ Mfalme

The news of the arrest of renowned Kenyan DJ Joseph Mwenda Munoro alias DJ Joe Mfalme on March 22, 2024, alongside his crew followed allegations of beating a police officer to death. Reports indicated the DJ was involved in an altercation with Felix Kelian, deputy criminal investigations officer attached to Kabete police station, after his car was scratched. Kelian complained of abdominal pains and later succumbed to his injuries, prompting the arrest of DJ Mfalme.

Facebook users expressed disappointment with how Citizen TV reported the incident, noting that they referred to the accused as “a prominent DJ” without mentioning his name, despite the case being public knowledge. Questions arose as to why Citizen chose to conceal his identity, with users wondering if the same treatment would be afforded an ordinary Kenyan in similar circumstances. The news of the DJ’s arrest gained traction on the Meta platform, with over 3,200 Facebook users engaging in discussions.

 

Impact on media

The criticism directed at Citizen TV may prompt mainstream media outlets to reevaluate their editorial decisions, especially regarding how they handle sensitive cases involving public figures. There could be internal discussions about impartiality and ethical considerations when reporting on high-profile individuals. Media outlets rely on public trust to maintain their credibility and influence. Instances where the public perceives bias or lack of transparency can erode this trust.

TIKTOK

  1. Rita Tinina

The seasoned journalist passed away on March 17, 2024. Tinina, who had been with NTV since October 2023 as an editor, was discovered dead in her residence in Kileleshwa, Nairobi. Prior to NTV, she had worked at KTN. Her demise reverberated across social media platforms, including TikTok, as the public shared her recorded stories. Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication, and the Digital Economy, Eliud Owalo, mourned Tinina and extended his heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, and the entire media fraternity, emphasising the significant loss experienced by the media community.

Impact on media

Tinina’s death, given her extensive experience in journalism, is a loss of valuable knowledge within the mainstream media. Her insights, guidance, and editorial decisions contributed to the quality and integrity of news content, and her absence may be felt in the newsrooms where she worked. Tinina’s passing prompts a reflection on the need for general wellbeing of journalists. This could lead to discussions about the challenges and pressures faced by journalists, as well as the need to prioritise mental health and well-being within the industry.

LEGACY MEDIA

Doctor’s Strike

On March 18, 2024, the impasse between the Ministry of Health and the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union persisted, with doctors under the leadership of KMPDU secretary general Davji Atellah affirming their commitment to continue their strike until their demands were met. They are particularly fighting for implementation of a signed Collective Bargaining Agreement andplacement of medical interns. This ongoing standoff drew in additional government entities, including the National Treasury and the Ministry of Public Service. On March 21, 2024, a pivotal meeting was convened at the KICC, presided over by Head of Public Service Felix Koskei, to address the escalating crisis.

Impact on media

Legacy media outlets (newspapers, television, and radio) devoted significant airtime and column inches to report the doctors’ strike. This increased coverage ensured that the public was well informed about the ongoing developments, including the reasons behind the strike, the negotiations stakeholders, and potential impacts on healthcare services.

Legacy media outlets provided in-depth analysis and commentary on the underlying issues fueling the doctors’ strike, such as the breakdown in negotiations over the CBA and the placement of medical interns. This analysis helped to contextualise the strike within the broader socio-political and economic landscape of Kenya, allowing citizens to better understand the root causes and potential implications.

KU bus accident

A tragic accident in Voi involving a transit trailer and a Kenyatta University bus claimed the lives of 11 students on March 18, 2024. The news sparked a widespread concern across online platforms regarding road safety in Kenya. Just two days earlier, on March 16, a bus belonging to Kapsabet Boys High School in Baringo County overturned, resulting in the death of a student and a teacher. The event had significant attention from legacy media outlets throughout the monitoring period, as surviving students bravely recounted their ordeal while grieving families mourned the irreplaceable loss of their loved ones.

Impact on media

Mainstream media outlets prioritised coverage of road safety issues and related incidents following those tragedies. Newsrooms may allocate more resources and airtime to investigative reporting, feature stories, and discussions examining the root causes of road accidents and potential solutions.

The emotional issue of the accidents led to heightened audience engagement with mainstream media content. News organisations experienced increased viewership, website traffic, and social media interactions as audiences sought updates, shared personal experiences, and participated in discussions on road safety.

Mainstream media platforms have the potential to mobilise public opinion and support for road safety initiatives. Media outlets may collaborate with stakeholders, such as government agencies, non-profit organisations, and community groups, to launch awareness campaigns, public service announcements, and educational programs aimed at promoting safer driving practices and reducing accidents.

Housing Bill

President William Ruto signed the Housing Bill into law, marking a significant milestone for Kenya. From April, Kenyans will now contribute 1.5 per cent of their earnings towards the Affordable Housing Scheme, a crucial initiative by the government. This development has garnered widespread attention across legacy media outlets, underscoring its importance in the national discourse. This achievement comes after a series of legal challenges, notably in 2023 when the High Court ruled the housing levy unconstitutional due. However, following diligent revisions and amendments to the Bill, it successfully passed through both the National Assembly and the Senate.

 
Impact on media

Mainstream media outlets dedicated considerable airtime, print space, and digital coverage to this development. It was a major news item, with extensive reporting, analysis, and commentary across various platforms. There were also considerable negative sentiments shared online on the Housing law. Media chose to focus on what the law stipulates and failed to expound the impact it will have on Kenyans.

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