Azimio La Umoja One-Kenya Presidential candidate Raila Odinga has led in media space consumption followed by Kenya Kwanza coalition flagbearer William Ruto according to a report by the Media Council of Kenya.
The report indicates that Raila Odinga enjoyed a 61.2 percent media coverage while his competitor, Kenya Kwanza flag bearer William Ruto got 38 percent.
The report covered events from April to early June 2022 and shows a drastic decrease in breaches of the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya. On the flip side, however, the reporting by both the mainstream and community radio stations on both national and county and regional politics was skewed in favor of regional politics.
The media coverage of Kenya’s 2022 General Election campaign has shown improvement compared to the coverage in the run-up to the 2017 polls.
The report has also shown improvement in adherence to journalistic ethics by Kenyan media houses despite the interference of media ownership in the framing and coverage of political stories.
The MCK report focused on how the mainstream media reported on the 17 candidates, who had expressed strong interest in the presidency, and showed up for clearance and registration by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Radio remains the biggest dispenser of political news with a 62% coverage which is attributed to the existence of several national and community radio stations compared to TV and print.
Television comes second at 27%, a situation attributed to wide penetration and frequency distribution. Print is rated third at 11%. The report also indicates that social media platforms are mostly used to spread disinformation and misinformation.
Online platforms were mostly characterized by political headlines focusing on the presidential candidates, their running mates and party primaries. Most importantly their stories resonated around the two major political parties, Azimio La Umoja One-Kenya and Kenya Kwanza coalitions.
The report notes an increased coverage of the Kenya Kwanza coalition, following earlier concerns by the side of unfair coverage, in some cases overtaking the Azimio La Umoja One-Kenya, particularly on the radio platform.
“The run uprun-up to the 2022 polls is already radiating a lot of heat, particularly on the presidential seat. With parties and coalitions having been cemented, the top seat remains the most hotly contested, with the stiffest competition ever witnessed in Kenya’s history”, says Media Council of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mr. David Omwoyo.
He added that the Council had noticed interest in issue-based reporting but called for more efforts by the media and political players.
“I also throw a challenge to the candidates to package their issues competitively as opposed to the noise being experienced in rallies. It is critical that balance be achieved on all news content and journalism must embrace fact-checking as a primary value”, says Mr. Omwoyo.
He revealed that the Council will continue training journalists, media practitioners and creatives on various aspects of election reporting to boost professionalism, adding that the Council has so far trained over 2,000 media workers across the country in preparation for the transitional polls.