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December 11, 2018

State urged to pay media’s Sh2.5bn advertising debt

US ambassador Bob Godec,ICT CS Joe Mucheru and Kenya Editor Guild Chairman Churchill Otieno./ENOS TECHE
US ambassador Bob Godec,ICT CS Joe Mucheru and Kenya Editor Guild Chairman Churchill Otieno./ENOS TECHE

The government has been asked to pay the various debts they owe media houses.

Nation Media CEO Stephen Gitagama said the huge debt was crippling various media activities.

"The government should uphold its stake to support journalism and pay the debt they own the houses as soon as possible as a show of commitment to support us and not because it's a decent thing to do," he said.

The government owes media houses more than 2.5 billion shillings in advertising payments.

Read: State should pay media’s Sh2.5bn advertising debt

The State always channels its advertising through the Government Advertising Agency (GAA), which was created in 2015 to consolidate public advertisements in an effort to cut costs.

Gitagama at the same time urged media houses to uphold quality journalism founded on the bedrock centre of core values including independent voices, freedom of expression amongst others.

Speaking during the Annual Editors Convention 2018, Information and Communication CS Joseph Mucheru said the government is committed to media freedom and regard Media as a critical government partner in development.

Mucheru said they are working very hard to make the payments.

"The media debt is on my desk and we are doing everything possible to ensure that we pay them in a proper way, "he said.

The CS added that there is a direct link between a free media and government responsiveness to the plight of the citizens.

He also urged editors to work with the government towards the common good of the country by fostering patriotism.

"Kenya belongs to us all. When it burns, we all burn. When it flourishes, we all bask in its glory," Mucheru noted.

The US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec however reitartaed the nation's commitment to support press freedom within the country.

Godec noted that media played a crucial role and must always report accurately and be impartial.

"Democracy will wither without free and independent media genes journalist have a responsibility to report facts," he said adding that any threat and intimidation against them is unacceptable.

The ambassador at the same time said they are finding various programs within the country that will see journalist undergo different training at the same time promote press freedom.

"The US has this year offered a grant of Sh20 million to Kenya Editors to help promote freedom of media through trainings, "he noted adding that they are also funding a women's program that will also be done within the counties.

Also read: State advertising agency boss, former ICT PS to be charged over Sh122m fraud

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