- Observers of the industry have noticed this disheartening trend.
- While I may not have all the answers, insiders will attest to the exorbitant costs associated with investigative journalism.
In journalism, the journey to uncovering the truth can be treacherous.
I remember the five months it took me to produce an investigative piece not too long ago. Determined to shed light on a story that demanded justice for its victims, I shouldered the financial burden myself.
Regrettably, my media house, like a few others, couldn't "afford" to support the production of such a story.
Sadly, the landscape of investigative reporting in media houses is under threat.
Observers of the industry have noticed this disheartening trend. While I may not have all the answers, insiders will attest to the exorbitant costs associated with investigative journalism.
The risks are more significant than ever in the current climate, where opportunistic "lawyers" exploit the slightest hint of defamation. Gag orders loom over truth-seekers, silencing their voices in the name of protecting reputations.
As I reflect on the words of the late Philip Ochieng in his book "I Accuse the Press," one line resonates with me: "Seemingly, a section of editors have subjected stories to a tyranny of superstition, to nature worship, to a set of extremely rigid codes of conduct which an individual disobeys only on pain or death." May Philip's soul rest in eternal peace.
Believe me when I say many journalists within our media houses yearn to expose the deep-rooted issues plaguing our society. From the insidious grip of organized crime, as former CS Fred Matiang'i had warned us about, to the harrowing prevalence of gender-based violence where victims are blamed and perpetrators roam free, these issues demand our attention.
Now, more than ever is the time for civil society and the media to forge a powerful alliance. The unfolding events compel us to join forces and reclaim the essence of investigative journalism.
The need for funding is paramount. The lack of financial backing has been a significant hurdle, burdening journalists with the impossible costs of diving deep into investigations. Global trends reveal a troubling decline in investigative reporting as newsrooms worldwide suffer from budget cuts and dwindling resources.
A colleague covering one of the counties recently told me that journalists, due to poor remuneration and other reasons, resort to churning out political "garbage" instead of delving into the massive looting of public resources. Can we expect such journalists to uncover the truth? I think not. We owe a debt of gratitude to the courageous journalists and media outlets that continue to carry this torch.
It is time for civil society to rise to the occasion and rekindle the fire of investigative journalism. By providing the necessary financial support, these organizations can empower journalists to fearlessly navigate the shadows, unearthing stories that resonate with the public and hold the mighty accountable.
Some organizations have recognized this void and are filling the gap. Others have set aside legal support to defend journalists who face legal battles. These efforts, among many others, have the potential to awaken investigative journalism within media houses. This movement should be more than a ripple; it should be a wave of inspiration that sweeps through the journalistic community, compelling each reporter and editor to embrace and champion the truth- the truth alone.
A movement of this magnitude should act as an unwavering support for those journalists who dare to tread where others may hesitate. It must empower journalists to stand resolute, refusing to be fed biased information from any corner, whether in the corridors of government influence or the intricate web of the private sector.
This movement should echo through newsrooms, reverberate in editorial meetings, and resonate with the core of journalistic ethos, fostering a culture where truth is sought and fiercely pursued.
With such support, we can enable newsrooms to poke holes into some sound bite solutions offered by our government to complicated problems facing us.
The negative narratives circulating online are part of a broader agenda aimed at portraying President Ruto's administration as overpromising and underperforming