1 March 2013

Kenyans Livid Over CNN Militia Story

Nairobi — Angry Kenyans have taken issue with a news item broadcast by CNN, claiming that Kenyans were arming themselves and preparing for war, ahead of Monday's historic poll.

The Kenyans who vented their anger on social networks like Facebook and Twitter accused the international media house of bias over its article titled 'Kenyans armed and ready to vote'.

Many Kenyans accused Nima Elbagir, the journalist behind the article, of bias noting that she did not mention any efforts by political and religious leaders calling for peace.

Kenyans on Twitter, going by #KOT, ranted via #SomeoneTellCNN.

"5 guys making crazy somersaults and trying to look seriously lethal @CNN said MILITIAS were arming for war #SOMEONETELLCNN DON'T BE DAFT," said @murayakariuki on Twitter.

"According to @nimacnn, a group of 4 actors is known as militia #someonetellcnn!" said @mutuku.

"With all the peace msgs out there #SomeonetellCNN that Kenya expects better from journalists trying to make a name the wrong way," said @JoyDoreenBiira.

"I don't understand why stories and reports of how Kenyans are preaching peace, is not being told by the International media. #SomeoneTellCNN," argued business mogul, Chris Kirubi.

Elbagir claims that Kenyans are arming themselves with 'guns made from iron piping and bullets bought from the black market' and from 'policemen tasked with protecting them'.

The video also shows three men rolling on the ground with some crude weapons with Elbagir saying that the "local Kikuyu tribal militia is getting ready."

Ironically the story was published on Thursday on the CNN website the same day political opponents put down their campaign bids to jointly call for peace at Uhuru Park.

"I don't understand why stories and reports of how Kenyans are preaching peace, is not being told by the International media. #SomeoneTellCNN," argued business mogul, Chris Kirubi.

Interestingly Martin Scott, lecturer in media and international development posted a blog on the Huffington post, a day after CNN ran its article, titled 'Reporting the Kenyan Elections: Five Things We Can Learn From Last Time.'

In the blog, Scott urges international media to consider five things while reporting the highly anticipated Kenyan election: look beyond tribalism, report the right time and place, consider image and language use carefully, to remember that they are being watched and to remember that there's more news than bad news.

Elbagir also took to Twitter to defend her work saying she was just highlighting what many human rights bodies have been talking about.

"There really was no desire to tell a"story". We wanted to reflect a reality that many HR orgs have been concerned about," read a tweet directed at @AaronRimbui.

"@AaronRimbui people are scared and this is how some are dealing with that fear.I understand though that this was a difficult watch," she argued.

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