Monday, March 05, 2007

My Take On the Nation Media Group Scandal

Unless you were living under a rock somewhere I am sure you are all aware the the much awaited Nation Media Group expose is out, if you want to read it; here is the blog.

My opinion? I do think that the post could have been written in a more coherent matter, it does have some typos and seems to ramble on at some points. But I do think that alot of what was written there is true and needs to be addressed.

Some people have said that this is the work of disgruntled employees. Well first things first, I dare you to work your ass for peanuts and not be promoted or get a raise, while your bosses do as little as possible and keep on reviewing their salaries upwards and not be disgruntled. I dare you as a young woman to apply for a job/internship/promotion, be denied because you didn't sleep with your superior and not be disgruntled. I dare you to be denied a promotion or a raise because you are not in the right tribe and not disgruntled! Of course this the work of people who have been downtrodden and yes there may be some malice in their but alot of what has been posted there is the truth. Ask a blogger like Kenyananalyst about his tribulations trying to get a foot into a Kenyan print media house or any other budding journalist, he is not the only person that I know who has had to try and move the earth to get a foot in the right way and won't be the last.

There are 2 sides to every story that is true but since the powers that be believe that there is no story, I don't think we'll hear their side because according to them they have nothing to answer for. Will this scandal every hit the mainstream press? Of course not! Because we all know that unless there is a rift like when Nation were spoofing Kenya Times and in return Kenya Times reported on the Nation employee who was busted by cops engaging in "un-natural acts" with another man, this story will not see the light of day. The alternative (gutter) press publication that had printed part 1 was bribed not to print part 2. Don't you all think that if the claims were without merit the publication would have been sued by the Nation Media Group instead of bribed?

I did read in the comments section of that blog someone asking for evidence. A good question I agree but when it comes to matters of sexual harassment, evidence is hard to come by. Few people tape their phonecalls, save every voicemail, save chats, tape conversations and take pictures of themselves in bed with their bosses. Misuse of power for sexual favor and sexual harassment cases are usually very hard to prove. That is one reason why many of these accusations are on shaky ground apart from one commentor who said he has pictures taken by a private detective.

Then there were the people who commented and said that the people who are making these accusations should follow their principles and quit working at the company. A nice suggestion in theory but it doesnt stop what is going on or solve the problem. Add to this the fact that there are only 2 major print publications (we have no long lasting magazines in Kenya) where specialised journalism skills are needed and paid for. So outing yourself may lead to your being black listed and your skills rotting away at home. So outing themselves at this point in time isn't the most pragmatic thing to do.

I also do admit that in a large organization there are always cases of consensual sex among adults, but this doesn't give the bosses carte blanche to turn the company into some sort of bordello and restrict favors and promotions to those who service them. Anyway I think I have done enough blithering, let me wrap this up.

To be honest from what I know and have heard this kind of rot isn't confined to Nation Media Group; it is happening in other media houses on differing levels and other large corporations that are household names. At the end of the day the Nation Media Group fashions itself as the moral watchdog of the people so I think at the end of the day those who work there should be kept to these same principles they want to uphold Kenyans to. But will this happen? I really don't think so.


kipsigiryo said...

true true there is alot going on in the gutters. I've witnessed some and it will also be out

Acolyte said...

@ kipsigiryo
I am just waiting to see if there is any fallout from this expose, if nothing happens then nothing will change

Chatterly said...

NMG is twisted vibaya sana - i read another letter sent by disgruntled employees. I was left asking myself why some of us go to school, work hard, only to miss out on fine jobs coz another doofus chica went for a horizontal interview! you are left wondering how crazy one has to be to employ a form 4 school leaver with zero skills plus fugly grades and leave out the graduate who has experience.
the pussy-pounding habit ndio itaua watu. I doubt if mungai will eat awino with rubber...should awino insist, she could easily be replaced by aisha who is willing to be mangwad raw. and no one knows how many mungais aisha has chewed.

TOTOBAYA said...

if this piece was really written by a journalist in Nation HOuse then it shows why their bosses are screwing around: their writers are so horrible it stresses you to edit them and so top it up with a lay to release your stress.

The writing is too horrible for a journalist, dont they know editing repeated stuff?

Alafu, all this talk ati journalism is a moral duty is crap. Doctors and nurses, actors adn directors, teachers and students, all do one another. its called human interactions.

sijamaliza, in an immoral society how can you write and live morally? Get to the top, by any means nescessaryl. He who has no sin cast the first stone. Nothing will change ata kama AgaKhan fires the whole Nation staff, wengine pia have the same intentions ni vile they dont have carpets in their offices, which they will gladly have once they move to nation to 'FILL IN THE GAPS' left by those fired.

Acolyte said...

@ chatterly
I feel your pain. It sucks to work hard but for someone to get ahead by using all the wrong means. You should see how people at Nation sweat when someone dies of AIDS.
@ totobaya
Let me tell you one thing, it is not only journalists who make a paper. There is also an editorial crew who do things like layouts and separation, anyone of them could have written this piece hence the bad work. And having bad writers is no excuse for screwing around, if you have bad writers; fire them and get better ones instead of screwing them!
Doctor's do have a moral duty, go read the hypocratic oath.
Plus if you read the Nation alot they always run opinion pieces and editorials about transparency, good governance and such; yet run your organization in the complete opposite manner? Dont you think that it waters down your message and makes it so that you shouldnt even do it?
I find your promotion of such attitudes in the office reprehensible, just because it happens doesnt mean we should be apathetic? Will you still feel the same when it is your sister, daughter or wife being coherced to have sex on the Editor's carpet?

Rista said...

Totobaya, you've clearly not read a kenyan newspaper recently. It's the sort of thing that makes an editor rub their hands with glee... more work for their red pen! Many a friend has proofed and edited the entire paper and sent it back to the NMG, with no change in their inept writing style.

Ichiena said...

There's no smoke without fire. Question is, who's willing to put out that fire.

Acolyte said...

@ Rista
I read both Nation and Standard and some of those editorial snafus are waaaaay to glaring and unresearched stories to boot.
That just goes to show what happens when you put the wrong people in the right positions.
@ ichiena
According to some, there is no fire!

Nakeel said...

I can only say it is true happening in all media houses and you can imagine the pain of watching some form four drop outs subbing your storos simply because of parepare.

Archer said...

There's clearly some major rot going on at NMG, but I don't think much can happen unless conclusive evidence eg photos, receipts etc are produced. In the absence of this, the story just sounds like a malicious rant. Not that I'm saying it didn't happen, but I don't think the wakubwas at NMG are being tishwad much at the moment coz they know this story can't hit the mainstream media and they can bribe the alternative press not to print it. Anyway lets just wait and see if any solid proof will be produced later and maybe then guys will start shaking in their boots.

Shadow said...

Although the author of the NMG story was a wee bit incoherent afew times through his article, the story may have some merit and could probably explain why my pal who worked there a while back lost his job on unsubstantial grounds. It may not be an easy task proving any of those allegations, but I do hope the disgruntled can pull it off. It's disturbing to learn that some of the guys I've respected for their journalism over the years can stoop so low for carnal favours. It's trully sad!

bankelele said...

Where's there's smoke, there's fire - and while it's true one can compile all the unrelated sexcapades in any organization over 5 years into 1 dossier, you get the feeling something is not quite right at the Nation.

And since other media are giving the story a blackout, the internet is a natural outlet for the story. Remember it was employees speaking out (anonymously) who revealed the corrupt deals at Kenya Re and forced the authorities to take action.

But it's sad for the people who have been exposed - and unfortunately (in this man's world) society will likely only judge the women harshly / they are the ones likely to have their careers suffer - not the men.

PS (No wordpress sites are accessible today - is it from Kenya only or all over?)

Mimmz said...

Assuming all the accusations at NMG are true, I personally feel that the women who have compromised themselves and allowed themselves to be promoted via the bedroom are a huge part of teheal problem. The society seems to have normed this as a part of life but eventually, they're holding every other capable person, who is either male or won't sleep with the bosses, back. If they had all said no, these promotional habits would rectify themselves.

The essential part that needs fixing is sexual harrassment laws in the workplace, These need to be created and described, publicized, enforced and litigated to force some kind of accountability. Additionally, discriminative practices at work as laws need to be passed so that anyone who gets passed over by an unqualified candidate can get a chance to challenge the decision in a court of law. It would force the managers to hire only qualified people. Plus as an added bonus, many lawyers would have work.

I'm unconvinced this issue is restricted to NMG. I think the same issue exists on various levels all over. I think the country would benefit if these laws were enacted and enforced because qualified people would produce tangible progressive results.

Bakari said...

Unsubstantiated claims are not part of good journalism . They will not stand up in a court adjudicating sexual harassment or (even harder to prove) employment discrimination. They do play very well in the court of public opinion. But we're low like that you know? NMG is playing this one as it should. Ignore, find the source and then destroy their livelihood. There is no whistleblowers pension fund that I know of.

Why do we seem to enjoy the titillation of this junkfood journalism? Why do people keep sending this vitriol around?

My peni mbili: unless these so-called whistleblowers (?) can substantiate their facts and call witnesses you are right they will soon find themselves unemployed, blacklisted and incarcerated. Never bite the hand that feeds you.

And then we'll all move on to the next bit of gossip and forget all about these "heroes of the common man".

Did you hear the one about nanio? Who gives 2 shits?

Ssembonge said...

Unfortunately, because Linus Gitahi caries with him excess baggage you can expect more of the same. Nothing will change.

Had the rule of law been effective in Kenya, I believe most of the females working at NMG can sue the company for sexual harassment.

Over the years, the quality of News from NMG has been deteriorating. Now we know why.

egm said...

It is disheartening that qualifications are being overlooked by hedonistic-minded people who should know better.

Anonymous said...

To all those who doubt the authenticity of these stories I can tell you with surety that I do have inside information from women who work or used to work in Nation and they have corroborated the stories. Some of their stories are even worse than those presented on the wordpress blog. In addition to these sexual vices there is rampant corruption in Nation that dictates which stories do or do not get published. Most of the major key players in kenyan political circles have moles in the major publication who ensure that their interests are met. It is no wonder that the kenyan liberation movement is not gaining significant ground. The media is largely to blame. Kenyans need to shift their traditional reliance on the media to lead us in political directions because this latest Nation scandal has proven that they lead us straight to the frying pan.

Acolyte said...

@ nakeel
That is saddening to say the least.
@ archer
That is my point exactly, unless hard evidence comes out the chances of anything happening are really low.
@ shadow
Is it me or do most people know someone who was locked out or fired from a job in the NMG under shady circumstances? I guess you now have to separate the writer from the man/woman.
@ bankelele
I do agree that people can never be fully silenced. The blog is online so I guess it may have gone down for a moment or two.
@ mimmz
I do think it takes two to tango, the girls willing to compromise and the man who misuse their clout.
I do agree that Kenya and the NMG needs some firm sexual harassment laws in place (if it has any).
I do agree that it is a big issue all over and not only in the Nation.
@ bakari
I do agree that no proof doesnt bode well for this article.
I think as humans we just like to know what other people are upto and the more scandalous the better!
Plus you are right, we do nothing for whistleblowers.
@ Ssembonge
I think Gitahi's allegiences are first to Nation and his shareholders, everyone else comes second.
I do agree that the Nation has really plunged in quality over the years.
@ egm
Sad thing is that people dont always do the right thing even if they know what it is.
@ anon
Like I said earlier, this present state of affairs has touched more people than those involved think.
I have heard of brown bag journalism being rife and editors being bought off before.
I think we need a third objective paper in the long run.

Kenyanchick said...

Aco, you know my views on this story, but I feel I should also add my peni mbili.

First of all, it disgusts me that women get such uncorroborated flack in the work place, and I'm sorry, your argument about the lack of evidence doesn't hold water. If people can't prove that women slept their way to the top, why do people persist in believing it? That's a backwards argument. "I know I can't prove it, and that such proof actually may not exist, but I believe it anyway." Why?

I know I'm going to get the "argumentative feminist" tag (and do I look like I care?), but you tell me why tribal-based promotions, family-ties-based employment and "you're from my district so become the editor" type of practices are not getting the same type of "exposure" or outrage. THEY are the most rampant practices in any place of employment in this country, making a total mockery of people's qualifications, so please don't try to tell me that they are somehow "better" than salacious rumours of people "sleeping their way" to the Human Resources Department.

Sex sells, as any gutter press publisher will tell you, and this so-called exposé simply reveals these "journalists" for the lowest-common denominator writers that they are.

Shiroh said...

(sigh !)

I do not even have to have any facts, evidence to believe them.

Adhyambo Odera is a horrible writer!! Wonder why she is an editor! Fact and evidence one. I pre suppose she is the buzz alternative to Smitta. Sorry Smitta for obvious smudge to your respectable writer that is self.
I have often wondered what is wrong with Buzz, if at all it was brought to compete with Pulse then no wonder that Adhyambo was not qualified for the position.

Lets assume
a) She never slept her way to Buzz Editor


Then the NMG must have lost it in having a non qualified editor in the Buzz team.

Unlike all their other products, Buzz is a true Hoax!!!!

I will refuse to be sucked into the belief that women do not work their way up sexually. Because they do.

It doesn't matter any way you look at it

i)Male is bad, asks for sex in return of employment

ii)Female taunts back side to entice male to sleep with her in exchange of position.

Lemme see how it looks

It is BADDDDDD, it is HORRIBle

Whether these are low journalists as some of you have claimed here of which MSHindwe!!!! what i know they are lowly paid.

They are Fed up!!! They are fed up with the Bad male and females in NMG who are using Sex for Story.

Typos and typos, some people cannot even write their own mother tongue without typos Ngai fafa it is such a lame claim that typos can do away with such a grave matter

Sexual discrimination & harassment is one of those things that should not be heard about in a company with a good reputation in the country.

Anonymous said...

So will the scandal stop you from buy the paper.No Big companies are not your regular mom and pop companies . at most the accused will get fired.But those people posting scandals and complaining wont get what the want also .

Acolyte said...

@ Kenyanchick
Seems we are talking at cross purposes here. At no point did I finger out only the women, I also did say that the Editors should also operate on a merit basis as opposed to a sex for work basis. I am not the one who makes up the sexual harassment laws, so when it goes to a he say/she says slanging match without evidence usually the case goes out of the window, it is usually easier for people to infer that someone slept their way to their position when people notice how the two interact and see them together on a tryst and such, both instances don't face up under the same scrutiny. A sexual harassment claim faces the companies by laws while rumours/accusations of sleeping one's way to the talk are subject of shared discussion and corroborated evidence.So in your case it is like comparing a stool to a cat.
Tribal hiring, nepotism and corruption have been in the public limelight for a very very long time. They have been subjects of alot of the investigative reporting that goes on in the press (Kibaki's regionalism anyone?), this has gotten more outrage because it has been going on for a very long time and no-one has really spoken about it.
I don't know what pleasure you get for shooting the messenger? Would the claims bear more weight with you if they were accompanied by nude pics of the parties involved, because alot of the other ills you talk of also dont have accompanying evidence. At the end of the day the results are still the same, we end up having a poorly run organisation, low employee morale and merit gets tossed in the gutter.
@ Shiroh
I do agree that the article was poorly written but as I did say in the post not everyone who works in the Nation is a journalist. But at the end of the day we now know what goes on in many organisations and how it is running the organisation into the ground very slowly. Ironic though when you think that Nation helps runs a Company of The Year award.
@ Anon
I dont know if you read my post to the end, I said that the state of affairs most probably won't hurt the circulation of the paper. We have a duopoly in Kenya in terms of the press, so the show shall go on. But to answer your question I dont buy the paper, I just read it online.

mwangi said...

Sans substantive evidence, I really cannot accuse (or acquit) anyone.
However, I do feel like we have become TOO materialistic to the extent that the dictates of conscience mean jerk to us.
Interactions between us have become reciprocal: "that you have to do something for me, before I can help you"
Not only is this attitude foreign, but it could also prove to be our downfall as a nation.
Are we ever going to have a Kenya that is conscience guided or is this an imaginary island of Utopia that I am describing?

kelitu said...

There is truth to what is being said about the scandal at NMG.
My pal was has worked there close to 10 years has been denied a promotion because she would not sleep with the boss. She was told they day she agrees to "talk vizuri" she will be a tv anchor.

Majonzi said...

I doubt that there are people who think that these allegations are false. What the argument is, why does it have to relate to who is sleeping with who? There is tasteful and tactful ways of doing this. I have friends and relas who work in Kenya's media and pr industry, and it is not right what is going on, especially for the women. I agree sexual harassment is a big problem in Kenya, there are advocacy groups addressing this, but not enough is being done.

Here,I think is a solid argument on why a different approach should have been taken. This is the thing, in any court of law, and I am sure there are lawyers, or people with a little legal understanding, SLANDER is a crime.

bantutu said...

I don't have that strong an opinion...lakini wat I know is that its happening..and aaah puss totting'll never grow old...It'll end wen the "I'll do anything to get the job/promotion/pay hike" mentality dies....which is not any time soon...

kenyananalyst said...

Just read u @ mine. I so agree with you, - the focus was deliberately ruined here. BTW, nilikuwa NMG Wednesday...kazi inaendelea kama kawaida.

Acolyte said...

@ kenyananalyst
I am not surprised in the least.