Kenyan media have always been accused of being fixated with politics at the expense of other issues of importance to society. But NTV seems to be determined to correct this perception by running human-interest stories that highlight issues that affect common people in society and help to impact positively on their lives.
The NTV story of April 7, 2012 about how the recent grenade attacks in Mombasa
affected businesses in the coastal town was a good piece of journalism.
For the first time, NTV took the initiative to establish how small businesses in Mombasa were affected by the state of insecurity occasioned by recent grenade attacks on a prayer rally in Mtwapa and an entertainment spot near Tononoka Grounds. By talking to small-scale businessmen over the Easter holiday, NTV interviewed a street vendor who, for the first time, gave very helpful insights into how the separatist ideology of the outlawed Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) has started affecting the lives of coastal communities.
“By saying that Coast province is not part of Kenya, MRC have scared away traders who supply agricultural produce to Mombasa. All of us know that soils along the coastal strip cannot support sustainable agriculture and that is why we depend on suppliers from the interior of the country to bring us fresh food. Hence, if we start saying that Coast is not part of Kenya, then we are also saying that we don’t want food from other parts of the country. But if this what we want, can MRC tell us where shall we get fresh food supplies? Or, shall we be eating sea foods alone?”, the vendor posed.
Indeed, this interviewee has just given Kenyan media and policy makers a vital perspective from which to address the security challenges posed by the emergence
of MRC. And the clue came because NTV made a paradigm shift in its coverage of issues by seeking to establish the plight of the common man in the streets instead of the traditional reporting where the media have only been seeking the views of big players in the tourist industry when analyzing the impact of insecurity to the economy of the coast region.
And NTV’s fresh look at issues did not end there. Its feature story on April 8, 2012 captioned; “Women sew to keep girls in school” is an example of good journalism that is sensitive to the plight of common people in society. The story was about a group of Muslim women in Nyeri who make re-usable sanitary pads.
Given that lack of sanitary pads has caused many girls in various parts of the country to skip school in order to avoid the embarrassment that often comes with such deprivation, NTV’s initiative to highlight the work done by the group of women in Nyeri indeed struck a blow for the welfare of the girl-child in Kenya, especially coming at a time when the government has started distributing free sanitary towels to schools across the country.