READERS HAVE THEIR SAY

The time to do away with offhand comments by NTV anchors is now. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • When my children tune to NTV, I have no alternative but to put up with its news anchors laughable offhand comments between stories.
  • The story drifted from how “Kamiti boys” are cleaning mobile cash wallets every day to a broad-based cost of financial services provision.

It’s Czar, not Caesar

I would like to share a small correction on an otherwise brilliant piece, “Inside State House meeting that sealed Kindiki’s fate”, by Ibrahim Oruko (Saturday Nation, May 23, 2020). In it, you quote Senator James Orengo as saying, “You must agree on whether you want to support Caesar or Rasputin.”

The correct position is that the choice is between the Czar or Rasputin, and that is what the senior counsel quoted. The Czar was the Russian ruler while Caesar belonged to the Roman Empire.

— Sammy Ade

Public Editor: You’re right.

Capital News also got it right and even explained who Rasputin was. In a story by Joseph Muraya, the news organisation associated with Capital FM reported: “Orengo said the Jubilee Party members had two options: to obey the Czar or Rasputin, a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Emperor Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, and gained considerable influence in the late imperial Russia.

“Jubilee Party members should decide whether they are going to obey the Czar or to obey Rasputin," said Orengo.

The electronic version of the Hansard confirms that Orengo used the name “Czar”, not “Caesar”. But neither the Nation nor Capital News captured he full import of the Orengo statement.

He said: “In Kenya today, we have a Rasputin who is occupying a political position. We are giving the Rasputin an AK-47. There is a Rasputin in the Republic who has many messengers in this House.

“The problem is that Rasputin was the greatest defender of the Czar of Russia, very close to the family, the wife… (He’s interrupted by a point of order). After Rasputin died, history will tell you what happened to the Czar of Russia.

“The Jubilee Party members should sit together and decide whether they will obey the “Tsar” or “Rasputin”. That is when this problem will end because you cannot have an army with two field marshals. This is what is happening and it is causing havoc in this country.”

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NTV’s happy talk

I’m a diehard fan of the Daily Nation. However, I avoid NTV news bulletins like the plague. But sometimes it is impossible to insulate myself from them.

When my children tune to the channel, I have no alternative but to put up with its news anchors laughable offhand comments between stories.

These irritating and annoying comments should only be tolerated on vernacular TV stations or those with a very limited reach and specific audience.

Consider the following comments by NTV news anchors: On Mother’s Day this year, an anchor sent greetings to his mother before reading the news. Then after reading the story, “Families in Ruai left homeless after demolitions” in the 9pm news on May 16, 2020, Smriti Vidyarthi asked: “Just where are the families expected to go?”

And on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, before reading the 9pm news, Ken Mijungu reminded viewers that it was only a few hours before the day to celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

A foreigner watching NTV would have been forgiven for thinking that NTV is a Christian channel.

The time to do away with offhand comments by NTV anchors is now. They should not revel in nauseating comments that can push some viewers to change channels or switch off.

— Njoroge Kibe, Loitokitok

* * *

Kamiti boys missing

I am dismayed that Otiato Guguyu, the writer of “How ‘Kamiti boys’ are cleaning mobile cash wallets every day” (Daily Nation, February 5, 2020), departed from the expected content.

My intention to read the article was to get informed how “Kamiti boys” are cleaning mobile cash wallets every day as I am a regular user of mobile cash wallets.

In other words, I expected a detailed story of how “Kamiti boys” defraud unsuspecting mobile users.

I read the first three paragraphs, which were in resonance with the headline and my expectations, but on starting on the fourth, I realised that it has nothing to do with how “Kamiti boys” are cleaning mobile cash wallets every day, and so I skipped it; I went to fifth paragraph, skipped it too, ditto up to the 15th.

The story drifted from how “Kamiti boys” are cleaning mobile cash wallets every day to a broad-based cost of financial services provision. In summary, it didn’t have the content promised by the headline.

— Kamau Ngugi

Public Editor: Headlines are the responsibility of sub-editors, not the writers of articles. Otiato Guguyu is not to blame.

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Short-changed

Nearly 40 years ago at the School of Journalism, University of Nairobi, your pet dictums, especially in the Editorial Writing class, were: “Say it safely, don’t use editorial space to attack groups or individuals or drive partisan agenda, write from frontline rows....”, et cetera.

All of us heard you and I was not alone. Do you still hold similar views? I feel short-changed. Who is a journalist today? Was there any point in coming?

— Barack Otieno

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