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China TV’s Saddique Shaban insensitive to joke about death

By Dex Mumo

In the aftermath of the appointment of the new commander of the Kenya Defence Forces, Saddique Shaban, a journalist working with CGTN, made insensitive remarks about the death of former Chief of Defence Forces Gen Francis Ogolla, who tragically passed away in an air crash.

Shaban took to X to express his views, stating, “Let’s see if another Chief of Defense Forces or anyone here is going to end up dead for interfering with civilian matters, including attempting to steal electoral victory.” He further claimed that the new CDF had three options under William Ruto’s leadership: “Death, jail, or fleeing the country. His predecessor, General Ogola, felt the first option.”

Shaban’s remarks are problematic for several reasons. First, making such comments without supportive evidence can be considered libellous. It is essential to exercise caution and substantiate claims with verified information when discussing sensitive matters such as the untimely death of a public figure of the late Gen Ogolla’s calibre.

Journalists have a responsibility to adhere to the principles of accuracy and truthfulness, and baseless accusations undermine the credibility of the profession.

Furthermore, Shaban’s comments demonstrate a clear violation of the journalistic code of conduct by taking sides and expressing personal biases. Professionalism should be at the core of journalisms across all platforms—on social and mainstream media.

Posting subjective comments, even on personal social media accounts, can erode public trust in the press and compromise the profession’s integrity. Journalists have a duty to provide objective and unbiased information, allowing the public to form opinions based on the facts presented.

One common critique of modern journalism is the perception that journalists have hidden agendas or biases. The audience expects journalists to present facts objectively without allowing personal opinions to seep into their reporting.

This desire for neutrality and impartiality is legitimate. While journalists are entitled to their own opinions, expressing those opinions when reporting the news is unnecessary and potentially detrimental.

The foundation of journalistic practice should be maintaining objectivity and upholding the principles of fairness and truth-telling. Objectivity does not mean sacrificing transparency; it means providing information that allows readers and viewers to form their own judgments.

In an era where online comments and social media posts can quickly land journalists in negative spotlight, it is crucial to remember the importance of professionalism and objectivity.

Engaging in debates and discussions on social media should not come at the expense of journalistic integrity. Journalists possess the power to inform and shape public opinion, which should be wielded responsibly with an unwavering commitment to accuracy and fairness.

Journalists can best serve their communities and contribute to a well-informed society by steadfastly dedicating themselves to truth and objectivity.

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