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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Anatomy of a hateful media house

By Samir H.

I am running out of phrases to describe KTN and its blatant Islamophobia/Somaliphobia. Their interest in vilifying an increasingly visible and powerful minority group is no longer shrouded in vagueness. Their modus operandi seems to be: Make up a fake story of wrong doing by a non-existent individual, throw in the word Somali, mention something about 'illegals' and buying up 'ID Card', then gin up the story to a national controversy by  running it on their multiple media platforms. (KTN, The Standard, An intensive negative coverage is fully spanning into a synergized multi-layered campaign for the delegitimization  of the Somali community.
Not a word of what they say about Somalis is true, but amazingly at one fell swoop, the Standard Media Group has successfully  knit up a tent of wingnuttery, where whacko haters feed off each others hate for Somalis in their very own bubble of bigotry.
The Story of a lone narcissist, pimping an 18th century communal policing practices will be forever imprinted in our memories. The sight of women, running for their freedom during Ramadhan will not be forgotten in NEP soon.

We might call them racist but recently I've become disinterested in this label. For a word that is so rich in suggestion, its starved of specificity. And KTN's war on Somali Kenyans, I've come to realize, is  specific and calculated.
Ask yourself what does KTN stand to gain from this?
Why was there a 15% rise in KTN's Stocks in a fortnight?
Where did this injection of liquidity come from?
What's KTN's relationship with the Indian community which owns 50+% of the entire Kenyan GDP?

I'm sure you are getting the drift of my story. In a country where free speech is for sale, an injection of liquidity into a notorious media house, will go a long way in running the kind of news that you want. In 2005, The Standard Media Group was raided by Kibaki's henchmen after they printed unflattering articles about the presidents wife. The understanding was as former Internal Security Minister infamously put it, "If you rattle a snake, expect to be bitten by it." This is the very same thing that Somali Kenyans need to do. Of course not raid the place in full commando regalia but bite KTN financially. This can be done in multiple ways:

1. Invest in their competitors, after all its not only Indians and Kiuks who have a monopoly on money.

2. Full blown declaration of hostility by Supkem and Jamia Mosque. For all its arrogance, KTN is not interested in getting into war with Muslims in Kenya. Given the diversity of Muslims in Kenya and their level of integration into the fabric of the society, the Standard Media Group knows this will gravely destroy their business.

3. Use our financial muscle and clout in buying influence within SMG itself. This is Kenya. Editors are available for a price and if The Easleigh Business Community cannot achieve this measly objective, I do not know what it can.

4. Engage in adversarial activism, online and offline. By legal means and otherwise.
Regarding the aforementioned activism, I would like to commend The Norther Lobby Group. This a group of young professional somali activist who have taken on SMG head on by launching a series of legal suits and complaints to the CCK and other regulatory bodies.
Equally a commendation is inorder for all the youths who took part in an online rebuttal of KTN on their facebook page. Their overwhelming pursuit of this irresponsible media corporation is already bearing fruit.

Its time for Somali Kenyans to form an influential alliance to take on this concerted attack on them. I'll be posting more articles on how we can improve our influence in the National Assembly  and the increasingly toxic media environment.

Spread the word. Share it on facebook, Uptweet it. Stand up to KTN!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


  1. thanks for standing up to racist propagandist walalo jazakallah!