Yesterday, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) released a report on media performance on election campaign reporting which revealed that Raila Odinga and his running mate, Martha Karua received more coverage than their competitors, William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua.
In the report, the Raila-led team received 61.2% coverage while Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza received 38.2%. It covered the period between April and early June and focused on all 17 presidential aspirants before IEBC narrowed down the list to four candidates who were officially cleared by the IEBC.
Explaining the same, MCK CEO David Omwoyo said the figures depicted how Kenyans consume news. Thus news touching on Raila/Karua is more consumed by Kenyans as compared to those touching on Ruto/Gachagua.
He added that media stories on Raila/Karua sell more as people are more invested and want to find out what is happening as compared to their competitors.
“For a long time Raila has been the best seller of news in the country hence he is viewed as the best newsmaker, his reemergence in the media space has excited many newsrooms. Deputy President William Ruto is also enjoying fair coverage,” Mr Omwoyo said.
Following the release of the report, Kenyans online elicited mixed reactions with a section claiming bias in the media.
Media Scorecard: A .@MediaCouncilK report shows improved coverage of Kenya’s 2022 General Election campaigns compared to the coverage in the run up to the 2017 polls. MCK CEO .@DavidOmwoyo released the report in Eldoret today.
— Media Council of Kenya (@MediaCouncilK) June 24, 2022
Earlier, DP Ruto had threatened to pull out of the Presidential Debate citing media bias. The stakeholders of the event were however quick to assure Ruto that the debate would be fair.
In a statement, the Presidential Debate secretariat Clifford Machoka stated the event is governed by guidelines that are validated with fairness and accountability.
“The debates embody the principles of fairness, integrity, independence and accountability as enshrined in the Presidential Debates Guidelines…Indeed, for us to take our country forward, it behooves us to work together rather than threaten processes that are important to the country,” the statement reads in part.