Recent trends in the way our media is handling and disseminating information leaves a lot to be desired. Today more than ever before, our media houses are successfully competing with tabloids and blogs in reporting unverified and counterproductive information whose effect has been catastrophic.
It is no longer new to find inaccurate and terribly misleading information in our mainstream media houses – some of which boast having hundreds of experienced and well trained reporters across the country.
But perhaps the biggest demonstration of increased irresponsibility in our fourth estate is the manner in which virtually all media houses reported an alleged Al Shabaab attack in Yumbis – a village in Garrisa county on Tuesday this week.
It was sad to see Kenyans wake up to news of an alleged murder of more than 20 police officers by the dreaded Somali militants only for details to emerge later that not even a single officer had lost his life.
Most embarrassing was the manner in which major and respected media houses went ahead to hype the alleged bloodshed only for them to apologize later when the government confirmed through the interior ministry that indeed, there was no death.
Such sensitive news reported in an insensitive manner not only lead to unnecessary fear and panic but also promote unwarranted criticism and ire against the government of the day. At times, such can lead to civil unrest and instability which we don’t need especially at this time in history when the nation is barely healed of past divisions.
It is thus crucial that our media houses retrace their steps into the reliable sources of information that Kenyans knew them to be, a few years back.