News about the death of Kenyan most prolific Swahili author and broadcaster, Ken Walibora, reached social media, News desks and tabloids a day ago. It was reported that his body was found at Kenyatta National Hospital morgue after he was involved in an accident. Reports further indicated that he was hit by an over-speeding ‘Double M’ Bus at Landhies Road in Nairobi city.
In the rush to break the news to the public, some journalists did negligible homework. Such incidences have earned them the ‘Githeri media’ tag in the past. Here are some of the simple mistakes that they could have overcome:
According to EAFEED, article written on 15th April, 2020, ”He currently teaches at the School of International relations and Diplomacy at the Riara University.” It thus shows that Prof. Ken Walibora is currently teaching at Riara University yet he is dead. “Current” means the present time and that would mean the sentence is grammatically incorrect.
Kahawatungu.com had their share of this cake. The blog reported, “By the time he died, Walibora worked for Nation Media group…”
For a fact, the last employer of the writer is not Nation Media group. The legendary writer and broadcaster was a senior lecturer at Riara University’s School of International Relations and Diplomacy. In fact, in a press release dated 15th April,2020, Riara University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Robert Gateru wrote,”Hadi Kifo chake,Dkt Walibora alikuwa mkurugenzi wa masomo ya Masuala ya Ulimwengu na Lugha (GLAS) katika chuo kikuu cha Riara.”
He further went on to indicate that: ”Alikua pia mhadhiri katika kitivo cha Mahusiano ya Kimataifa na Diplomasia, Chuo Kikuu cha Riara.” It is thus safe to argue that Kahawatungu didn’t do justice to the article at all, which was full of blame games anyway.
The tabloid further wrote that, “Even as his death is confirmed at the age of 55…” This in misinformation, a crime a serious journalist should never commit. Walibora was born in 6th January, 1964. Simple mathematics, without even the use of a calculator will show you that up to 2020, and he lived 56 years. What the writer wrote shows how quick s/he was to break the news but omitting simple facts. The mother question is, how does such a mistake pass through the editorial?
Finally, there is some similarity in two articles, one published at Capital News and another at The East African. The exact of these statement: ”Some of his most famous books includeSiku Njema, which was used as a set book in Kenyan secondary schools, andNdoto ya Amerika.”
The fact that both of them were published yesterday, 15th April 2020, it is hard to tell who did their paraphrasing from who and failed to give credit. Or maybe there is a more reasonable explanation.
In the era where most citizens get news from social media, it is prudent for Journalists and bloggers to have a keen eye for details and report facts to the citizens. This will differentiate between fake news and authentic news.