I would like your permission to post this email below that you sent to the Young Professionals on my web page titled "Cultural Challenges", as a link to this email. I have corresponded with Pastor Absolom Birai who has accepted to let me post some of his opinions to advise students seeking studies in the US and the Diaspora. My web page is http://www.akadeducationafrica.com/cultural-challenges.php
The media challenge you discuss below is similar to the "Freedom" we face overseas in the "truly free" media with little or no control on content. A recent report by the Kenya Film Classification Board, as per newspaper article titled "Broadcasters accused of airing adult content" (Saturday Standard, 16th October 2010, p9), quotes that violations through programmes containing scenes and language intended for adult audiences are being aired between 5am to 10pm, with Citizen TV as the highest violator (32%), followed by Classic FM (28%), Classic TV (16%), KTN (8%) and NTV, K24, KBC at 4%.
The above for those going into the diaspora, is nothing compared "freedom" to watch sleazy daytime shows like the infamous "Jerry Springer" - also available on local satellite TV. It is from here that people graduate into hard core stuff, let alone what is freely available on the internet with higher bandwidth that allows one to watch full length features!
I hope our guys will be advised to appreciate the price we will all pay for these freedoms....
From: Reuben Kigame <email@example.com>
Sent: Mon, May 24, 2010 12:44:03 AM
Subject: [YP_Ke] MEDIA FREEDOM.
When I think of the excitement many of us have over getting a new constitution, I feel shivers down my spine. For me, it sort of resembles a man eager to receive a dream car without any thought on the responsibilities that come with the arrival of that car.
One of the areas that concerns me deeply is the area of excess media freedom in the proposed constitution and the clauses on freedom from discrimination. My problem is not that these are granted as freedoms. My problem is the apparent lack of control whatsoever.
I am a media owner myself and should be fairly happy with the provisions, but I am not.
Article 34 Clause 2 states that the state shall not exercise control over, or interfere with any person engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication or the dissemination of information by any medium.
The article adds that the state shall not penalize any person for any opinion or view or the content of any broadcast publication or dissemination.
Call me backward or uncouth. I will accept the description gladly, but what this means to me is that the commercial interests want to get rich at our expence and it does not matter if we go to the grave due to Cirrhosis or the drinking of poisonous local brews! These can be advertized at prime time as those who cannot afford the EABL products, etc, get deeper into looking for alternatives, having been exposed to the acceptability of drinking as a great lifestyle. It means that we can fool the Kenyan parents that they should no longer worry about South American Soaps because we now have our own Kenyan Soaps and enough Nigerian movies. We can televize horro movies without end at prime time and argue that anything in cartoon form is good for our children. We deem it more morally acceptable to advertize condoms at prime time than to put a message on abstinnence through. Haven't we decided already that abstinence is too costly and that nobody lives their lives guided by it! We do not ever think that even names such as "trust" for condoms are misleading because primarily a person will use a condom on the basis of mistrust! Buwt we have accepted this commercial exploitation as we burry more young people and less old men, primarily from HIV/AIDS.
The point is that nobody will be able to stop us at all with the enactment of the new constitution. We can discuss a person in society and call them what we think and nobody is supposed to control us. Ironically, we have freedoms of expression controlled: On what moral basis?
You may say that the article provides for control by parliament. To me, it is absurd to talk about parliament enacting legislation to establish a media regulatory body having declared that the government shall not interfere with media at all.Is not this a dead provision?
Another thing is this. There is an ambiguous provision as far as I am concerned in Article 34:3 Subsection (b) which says that broadcasting and other electronic media have freedom of establishment, subject only to licensing procedures that are independent of control by government, political interests or commercial interests.
What does this mean? Can someone explain? With this provision, where would a media house like KBC fall, since it is clearly government-owned? Besides, isn't the majority of the broadcasters primarily driven by commercial interests? What shall we say of the Nation Media Group, The Standard Group or Royal Media? Are they not commercially driven? so, does this article imply they should not own media? What about Speaker Marende's desire to have broadcasts from parliament? Will this now be wrong? Istn't this contradictory?
Let's however go back to my first point. If a man has not managed a motorcycle well, why would someone expect the person to manage the new car well?
Unless one is dishonest, looking at the Kenyan media, it is obvious that she has not managed media freedom well. The only people who consistently get air time are politicians. No news item will be without at least 50 per cent politics. We also know that good news about activities that transform communities for the better as carried out by NGOs, the Church, and even individuals, do not make it to the news.
It is claear that the Kenyan media hates the Church and Christianity at large with a passion. It will highlight every real and imagined scandal by pastors or Christian groups. Recently it is clear that, although, "no" is an option in the referendum process, the media wallows in vilifying the church.
I do not know how many of you watched Jeff Koinange's interview of Njeri Kabeberi on K24 tonight! I cannot even repeat some of the words she used against the Church and pastors. She even went as far as calling Christians "Moists" just because Moi is opposing the draft as well. For me, she had nothing but hate speech against the Church, almost bridging insightement to religious violence. And Jeff - my! - Just kept urging her on and hailing her as a "voice of reason." But, nobody can tell me why the church's request that the Kadhis' courts be removed from the constitution is "hate speech" and Njeri's acceptable language in the name of media fredom!!!
Have we forgotten the onslaught on Bishop Adoyo on Citizen TV when Julie Gichuru and the Citizen Management had two "yes" proponents against the Bishop and then Julie joined in the bashing of the Old Man, so that he could hardly speak. If nobody finds anything wrong with this kind of media practice, we do not have a country at all! And what shall I say of Ramanyan on K.T.N.? Instead of probing the guests, he, like Julie Gichuru and Jeff, would join in the bashing game, leaving us with the question: Who is the moderator of the discussion?
In short, this is the level of media freedom we have! And they want more! I fear for my children and yours!
Elsewhere on KTN tonight, Bonny Odinga had a discussion on the complexion of African women. Can you believe it that he left unchallenged or unbalanced the statements of some of his interviewees who made the declaration that light-skinned ladies tend to be faster in accomplishing tasks and that dark-skinned ladies are slower and seem to always hide somethins ... What did that broadcast do to all the lovely dark-skinned ladies who were watching or who will hear this lie propagated as media fact that is proven by "research!" What emotional damage may have been done to all the dark-skinned teenagers who heard it as they struggle through issues of self identity?
Sorry for writing this long, but I am asking, doesn't there need to be some kind of social responsiblity, if nothing else, on the part of the media in that many people consume it in good faith? Is this good faith reciprocated by the media to the audience?
Lastly, is it really prudent for the popular media to come to the point of saying that, just because the Church has a problem with some clauses in the proposed constitution, then they would give the Church a blackout?
KINDLY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, TELL ME WHEN YOU HEARD A POSITIVE WORD ON THE CHURCH IN THE MEDIA RECENTLY?
This is where I leave the matter: If there is anyone from the media who believes that the recent attitude to the Church is the way to go, then I have news for you.
One time in Nigeria, a popular news paper was forced to shut down, because the Christians stopped buying the paper. I warn in love, you cannot keep biting the hand that feeds you. there is a limit to everything, and Nigeria is not very far from us.
For Julie Gichuru, Ramanyan, Jeff et al, there is a beginning and there is an ending - Mpanda ngazi hushuka! We are all mortal, and there is no way anyone has ever succeeded in mocking God, for God cannot be mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that will he reap. (Galatians 6:7ff)
But, mine was media freedom. Somebody talk to me.
----- Original Message -----From: Absalom BiraiSent: Sunday, May 23, 2010 2:10 PMSubject: [YP_Ke] The absent member!
What some members(especially the singers) tend to forget or chose to ignore is that their local church needs them and that we serve a God of order. And by choosing to ignore that.they become absent members of their local church as they travel from one church to another praising God and spreading the good news.Whether they know it or not it comes down to the fact that they are either misleading themselves or have chosen to be mislead by someone.
Let me approach this from a different angle.
1.It's not right for a husband/wife to ignore the needs of his/her family as he/she goes around doing good by cooking for other families and doing their dishes.Or can you think of
a husband who refuses to watch over his children when his wife is out to work and instead chooses to watch children of another man. It all comes down to mixed priorities.
2.Can you think of a leader who ignores the needs of his/ her own people and instead sends huge mounts of money to another country?
How does this relate to a local church? It goes without saying that no one is forced to become a member of a certain congregation/church. People usually do this on their own accord. However, when an individual decides to become a member of a certain congregation then he or she in many ways agrees to the following:
1.That he/she will be a peace maker and contribute to that growth of that church.
2.That his/her priority will be foremost on the local church. Others become secondary
3.That he/she will support the local church in tithes and offerings.
4.That he/she will respect the authority and direction of the local church.
5.That he/she will contribute to the success of the local church by ministering to the local church in preaching,teaching and singing.
But as it's, there are some members who:
1.Are absent so often due to who knows what.One week is one excuse and another week is another. They keep coming up with all kinds of excuses.
2.Others are so much on fire for the Lord that they ignore that their own local church needs them. They are therefore on the road singing at different churches every week. How they feel and what they want to do dictates their movement.If you talk to any pastor or leaders of any local church,they will tell you that in most cases,singers/choirs are hard to control. They usually do what they feel like doing.
3.Some of them hardly support their local church with their monies and talents.
In the things of God,all need to understand the following.
1.God is a God of order and not of confusion.
2.Order in the plan of heaven.
3.Disobedience of any kind towards spouse,parents,,employer,school,Government and the local church is unacceptable. In other institutions,disobedience is considered a crime. If one is unhappy @where she/he is,the best decision is to join another institution that will make him/her happy.
4.No one wants to control any one.What I am saying is that every institution/organization has laid down rules that govern it.Let us therefore avoid to do good by becoming bad elsewhere. Yes,a member of a given local church may from time to time visit other churches so as to minister to them and be able to see/learn how others do things. But this need to be an exception rather than the rule. I know of no church that agrees with the thinking of the traveling members.Again let us constantly remember that our God is a God of order. Let us be like Him in all that we do.
Pastor Absalom Birai