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Gen Ogolla, war on corruption, floods dominate social media

Introduction

CDF Ogolla

Kenya is in mourning after the sad deaths of its Chief of Defence Forces General Francis Ogolla and nine military officers in a helicopter crash on April 18, 2024, near Kaben, Marakwet East. The cause of the crash is now being investigated. President William Rutoset three days of national mourning to honour the fallen soldiers. General Ogolla was buried on April 21, 2024, in Alego, Siaya County.  CDF Ogolla’s legacy was reflected on across X, with the hashtag #️1 trending for more than 25 hours, amassing 57,000 tweets, and “Chief of Defence Forces” trending at #️6 for over 22 hours, generating 24,000 tweets.


Impact on media

The air accident dominated media outlets. News organisations allocated substantial resources to cover the crash, its aftermath, and the ongoing investigation. Additionally, the three days of national mourning declared by President William Ruto amplified media coverage as journalists reported on ceremonies, reactions from the public and officials, and tributes to the fallen soldiers. The helicopter crash sparked discussions and debates within the media regarding military and aviation safety standards in Kenya. Journalists need investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash, including factors such as maintenance protocols, pilot training, and the condition of the aircraft.

From the shocking revelations of financial scandals to political controversies, natural disasters, and tragic losses, this comprehensive examination illuminates the impactful trends both on social media and mainstream media that have shaped public discourses.

Sh490m scandal

Former National Museums of Kenya Director General Mzalendo Kibunja and three other officials were arrested after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission instituted a probe into an alleged embezzlement scheme Sh490 million supposedly syphoned through ghost workers from 2015 to 2022. Kibunja and his co-accused Ongalo Opija, Oliver Okinyi, Wycliffe Odhiambo and Oscar Mwaura were charged on April 16.


Impact on Media

Corruption scandals involving high-profile figures and large sums of money tend to capture public attention. Media outlets reporting this story likely experienced increased readership, viewership, and online engagement as audiences sought updates and analysis.

How the media frames and covers corruption scandals can shape public perceptions of the media’s role in society. Comprehensive and unbiased reporting can reinforce the media’s role as a watchdog and advocate for transparency, while sensationalised or biased coverage may erode trust in the media. The media missed an opportunity to give an in-depth look into the corruption scandal by merely reporting on the arrests and court appearances.

Equity card fraud

Equity Bank was hit by a massive card fraud of Sh179,677,736 from 551 account holders. The money was transferred through M-Pesa and 11 banks. This incident sparked a wave of reactions among customers and the public, questioning the security measures at the bank. Equity surged to #3 on X with a staggering 27,000 tweets.



Impact on media

Media outlets would extensively cover the Equity Bank fraud scandal, providing detailed analysis, updates, and investigative reports. This story would likely dominate headlines across various platforms, including newspapers, online news portals, television news, and social media. Journalists may delve into the root causes of the fraud, scrutinise the bank’s security measures, and examine the broader implications for the banking industry and financial security. Equity bank must be cautious in how they handle the current crisis. Chase Bank in 2019 suffered a crisis through the power of social media.

CEO’s Sh1.2m daily pay

Co-operative Bank of Kenya CEO Gideon Muriuki trended on X after it was revealed that he earns an average of Sh1.2 million each day, cementing his position as the country’s highest-paid CEO. The disclosure fuelled debates about the bank’s significant compensation difference and the broader issue of income inequality in Kenya. While some were astounded by the CEO’s earnings, others questioned the reason for such high salaries, especially because lower-level staff often make less than Sh 25,000 per month.


Impact on media

Media coverage of the CEO’s salary and the resulting debates potentially can amplify discussions both within traditional media outlets and on social media platforms. Journalists and commentators need to delve into related topics such as corporate governance, labour rights, and economic policy. This ongoing discourse can shape public opinion, influence political agendas, and potentially lead to calls for regulatory reforms or corporate governance changes within Kenya’s banking sector.

#Floods

The past week has experienced downpours that led to destruction of property in several parts of the country. The spillage of Masinga dam led the Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithuri Kindiki to issue a flood alert and a mandatory evacuation order. According to Kenya Red Cross, more than 20,000 household have been affected in 16 counties.

Across social media, Kenyans shared their frustration as ravaging waters destroyed property, houses and farms.

 

     Impact on media

Media coverage of natural disasters like flooding serves to increase public awareness and its impact on lives. By disseminating information about the extent of the damage, evacuation orders, and humanitarian needs, the media plays a crucial role in informing and educating the public. This increased awareness often leads to higher levels of public engagement, including donations to relief efforts, volunteering, and advocacy for better disaster preparedness and response measures. Sustained media coverage of disasters puts pressure on government authorities and agencies to respond effectively and develop policies to avert such occurrences.

Madowo, Murkomen fight over JKIA

On April 15, 2024, Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen discussed road carnage on Citizen TV’s Monday Report. He chastised CNN correspondent Larry Madowo for constantly focusing on the shortcomings at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport rather than the country’s positive aspects. This criticism sparked a heated online debate between the two individuals,. The subsequent discussion drew a large number of participants, some of whom criticised Murkomen.


Impact on media

The widespread engagement generated by the online debate underscores the growing influence of digital platforms in shaping public discourses. Social media platforms like TikTok enable individuals to amplify their voices, participate in public discussions, and hold media and public figures accountable. This empowerment of digital platforms may prompt traditional media outlets to adapt their strategies to leverage the reach and engagement potential of online channels, thus contributing to further evolution of the media landscape. Public debates sparked by interactions between media personalities and public figures can influence the framing of news stories and the topics covered.
Fake certificates

Videos of President William Ruto addressing the third National Wage Bill Conference 2024 at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, went viral on TikTok. He emphasised his commitment to combat corruption, targeting individuals holding fraudulent academic certificates within the government. President Ruto revealed that over 2,100 civil servants have been identified to be holding fake academic credentials and urged them to voluntarily resign and refund public funds. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua echoed the President’s stance.


Impact on media

The viral nature of President Ruto’s speech on TikTok suggests that government initiatives are increasingly reaching audiences through non-traditional media channels. This trend could lead to a shift in media consumption habits, with more individuals turning to social media for news and political content. Mainstream media needs also embrace the use of such platforms to share factual content. Content on social media can be manipulated by users to achieve a certain objective.

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