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Stop stirring hatred and violence – a message to Kenya Media houses


When the marriage of Chege and Daniel hit the Kenyan headlines, media houses went to extremes to attract viewing audiences. KTN even invaded the parents of Chege and behaved in a way that can only be called cruel and despicable.

This blog is a continuation of an issue that’s bothering me -the irresponsible hatred aired on radio and incitement to violence. I started with a podcast and in my last post shared correspondence with Caroline Mutoko of Kiss FM who surprisingly defended gay bashing DJs on Classic FM. I’ve had further correspondence with Caroline Mutoko in the last 24 hours which went something like this

“Dear Caroline…I hope that you find these comments useful and have it in your hearts to take them seriously. We are a country in pain that is in dire need of healing. You should be the first ones to step up to the plate. It would be a great step if you could apologise to Charles and Daniel as well as all people of different sexual oreintation to yourselves. I think your listeners will applaud you”.

In response Caroline wrote

“Paula;
There is hunger, floods, cholera, Swine flu and other more important issues to deal with.
I’m bored with this nonsense about gay people. I have The World Cup Trophy to deal with
And Tusker’s new brief, Zain’s tariff to execute and serious sales to create for Air Kenya, the people
Who pay our salaries and keep us in business. My day will not be taken up by the drama about
A few homosexuals, I don’t care how livid some people maybe.

If you are disappointed with us, fine. But I really need to do other things with my time.
On my list of priorities afew gay people, are not that important. Yes, I’m being brutally honest….”

and “….Honestly, you’d think I don’t have gay friends!! I do, but enough!”

I totally understand how busy Caroline Mutoko is, hell who isn’t busy these days?  But she doesn’t seem to hear what the listeners are saying. I am not protesting her or Classic FM DJ’s opinion on gays, I’m protesting hate reporting, and incitement to violence.

Classic FM and it seems Kiss FM seem to have a fixed mindset about programming vitriol to attract listeners, and will even use the radio platform to promote hatred and xenophobia. This is what I’m up in arms about.

Kenyans deserve more ethical approach and more relevant programming from all media houses.

We are a country steeped in grief over post election violence. What we really need now is deep healing, and radio stations have the most important role in this.

As the most influential radio presenter in Kenya it saddens me that Caroline Mutoko cannot find time to think deeply about this, about the impact of Kiss FM and Classic FM programming on the public mindset and especially on stirring hatred and calling to violence. She was one of the most listened to voices during the Post election violence. Afterwards the public fiercly defended the media houses during the Media bill fiasco. We trust our radio presenters and we permit them to influence us. That’s a big gift, why don’t they cherish it?

So my question to you readers is how can we influence the media and get them to apologise and reform?

Who can we write to and complain about media irresponsibility in order to change this irresponsible and plain dangerous trend? Leave a comment. Thanks

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October 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Comments »

  1. hear hear! having an opinion is one thing but using a public platform to encourage hate and then brushing it off like its no big deal is reprehensible. regardless, i hope that together we can come together to find a solution cos when it comes down to it we are all human.

    Comment by jmmk | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. How about we don’t try to influence the media but rather take them for who and what they are and simply no longer “trust our radio presenters and…permit them to influence us”?

    Comment by Biche | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. It saddens me that she thinks that way. Its very shallow of her. Does she know how influential she is? And the radio presenters of those stations? 2010 is almost here, 2 years after a terrible time and this is the attitude they employ against gay people? I think they all need to grow up…

    Comment by cuppatea | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. I think this was one giant media fail. And I agree: Caroline’s response was weak. That she’s bored, and doesn’t want to talk about it anymore is fine. That’s what I thought from the beginning about the UK wedding: legal, somewhere else, private individuals, nobody’s concern. But to condone or encourage violence against others, no matter how ‘other’, and describe it as a bit of ‘fun’ is crossing the line.

    I tried to raise the same issue with some people at KTN and like Caroline, there was little to now acknowledgement that this is a media ethics problem.

    Comment by Andrea Bohnstedt | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  5. Thanks for all the comments. It’s clear from the response to this blog that Kenyans do care and it’s really important that the message is sent to the media houses. Please write to the Classic FM station master Paul Illado paul@classic105.com

    Comment by paulakahumbu | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  6. All said and done, I’m just wondering if Caroline’s gay friends were actually listening… and appreciate the fun…

    Comment by Obie | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  7. Having listened to your interview on lion conservation on Caroline’s morning show at Kiss FM, I am surprised that the two of you could not come to an amicable understanding on this matter.

    What I can say is that the reaction to the gay wedding is not surprising though I don’t expect a similar response maybe 20 years down the road. Assuming you are not gay, I think your response is overblown and clearly a case of the mourners wailing more than the deceased.

    I have never heard of Kenyans lynching gays and I honestly don’t expect this to happen. This is not to say that I am defending the remarks made on the radio.

    Comment by Ssembonge | October 28, 2009 | Reply

    • “First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
      Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
      Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

      Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

      Comment by MonsieurMo | October 29, 2009 | Reply

    • “I have never heard of Kenyans lynching gays and I honestly don’t expect this to happen.”

      So, are you waiting for it to happen? And what could you possibly mean by “assuming you are not gay, I think your response is overblown and clearly a case of the mourners wailing more than the deceased..?” Only gay people should care about violence against gay people?

      Comment by Kenyanchick | October 29, 2009 | Reply

  8. After careful analysis of this, IMO, the most likely reason Caroline is being completely irreverent (and so wonderfully ‘charming’, in the subsequent email) about this is out of the fear that her support of the gay population will lend credence to the widespread rumours surrounding her own sexuality. Caroline is A LOT smarter than this and I have a strong feeling that this is a ‘politically-correct’ (captures the zeitgeist of Kenya) response rather than her true feelings on the matter.

    Just a thought.

    Doesn’t excuse anything though.

    Comment by MonsieurMo | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  9. p.s. To go off-topic a bit; there are many, many better ways in which she could have answered this and still stayed true to whatever message she intended to convey. The marketer in me is cringing!

    Comment by MonsieurMo | October 28, 2009 | Reply

  10. EVERYONE should shut the hell up about this and move on with their lives!!!
    WELCOME to the real world… this happens every single day and gay people have been around for centuries!!
    We have ALOT that is not happening in Kenya that should be and THAT is what we should focus on!!
    A step up for all the gays in Kenya!! its about time!!

    Comment by Joyce | October 30, 2009 | Reply

  11. Oh, and SHAME ON YOU CAROLINE for thinking this does not concern you, you supported the bashing which for the life of me i fail to understand why these 2 IDIOTS thought they had a right to comment on the issue!!

    We have heard many unsettling stories about your highly questionable moral choices through your years on radio Caroline, and many of YOU that work on radio but you never heard anyone call in to your stations to bash or comment on your PERSONAL choices!!
    Take a cue from these 2 guys!!! live your lives as you wish and YOU the IDIOTS on radio… maybe next time think before you speak… i fail to understand WHY you are even working on radio!!! If you have nothing nice to talk about, SILENCE is always nice…
    MIND your own business boys and check yourself, am sure you have ALOT more personal issues to deal with yourselves and u should maybe check on that!!!
    Your silly comments said more about you the many wonderful gay men of Kenya!!

    Comment by Joyce | October 30, 2009 | Reply


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