Kenya: Maina Muiruri Named Media Council of Kenya Chairman

11 October 2019

Journalist Maina Muiruri has been appointed the new chairman of Kenya's media watchdog.

Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, in a gazette notice dated October 3, said Mr Muiruri will head the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) for three years.

Mr Muiruri, immediate former People Daily Managing Editor, is a seasoned editor and media manager.

He started his journalism career at the Kenya News Agency (KNA) in 1991 and later moved to The Standard as a reporter, rising to head the features desk.

RESIGNED

He joined the People Daily in 2013 as managing editor until he resigned last year in unclear circumstances.

He succeeds Mr Charles Kerich, The Star newspaper's former head of content, who was appointed to the position in 2015.

Mr Kerich resigned in 2017 after he was picked by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to serve as a county executive.

With the exit of Mr Kerich, his then deputy Julius Kinyeki took over in an acting capacity until their term ended mid last year.

Mr Muiruri takes over at the council amid growing fears over government's desire to clawback on the gains made in media freedom over the last decade.

In the gazette notice, Mr Mucheru also appointed seven members to serve on the media council board.

They include former Saturday Nation Managing Editor Tim Wanyonyi, another seasoned journalist and media manager.

Mr Wanyonyi worked at the Nation Media Group for 24 years until January 2018.

He joined the group as a Daily Nation sub editor in 1994 and rose to the position of managing editor in charge of Saturday Nation.

At the time of his exit from NMG, he was the head of content at the Daily Nation.

DEFINING MOMENT

Other board members appointed by Mr Mucheru are Ms Roselyne Obala, a political reporter at The Standard, Daystar University lecturer Susan Karago and PR Practitioner Patience Nyange.

Apart from teaching, Ms Karago is also head of sales at the Mombasa-based Baraka FM.

Ms Nyange is currently at Cardiff University, where she is pursuing Master's in international public relations and global communication management.

"I accept this appointment," she said on her Facebook page on Friday.

LEGITIMACY

"I am alive to the burden of expectations that the role comes with especially at this time when the media sector in Kenya is facing a very defining moment in terms of regulation, legislation and legitimacy."

IEBC Communication Manager Tabitha Mutemi will also sit on the MCK board alongside communication expert Stanley Mbugua and Dr David Mwaisaka.

Dr Mbugua has vast experience in research, PR, media relations, web management, graphic design, editing, writing, advertising and strategic management spanning over 15 years. He holds a Master's in communication studies from the University of Nairobi's School of Journalism.

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