Implications of foreign ownership of the press in Kenya

Kenya has manifold press problems: low literacy, high costs of machinery, newsprint and distribution; and the insecurity of politicians resulting in government controls. But most crucial is the problem that the press created for itself and has continued to live with -- lack of credibility. Born out of the colonial era, the press cultivated a ludicrous contempt for the Africans, advocating their eternal subservience. Africans gained independence amid a hostile press and yet once independence was attained the press immediately turned around and began praising those it once denounced. By so doing, it became suspect as being a press that will at no time be able to against the current of power. Due its instability, it will continually have to flow with the tide, becoming little more than a piece of flotsam indicating which way the wind is blowing. This problem is compounded by the fact that those who owned and controlled the press during the colonial days continue to do so today. Consequently, the bad image created decades ago reflects not only on the newspapers as communication media but also on those who own and edit them. The press exists only as an institution for economic gain and falls short of what is generally classified as mass media. As such, the press situation in Kenya (and many other developing countries} is unique, posing unique problems. It is an old and displaced press in a young and developing country and is inconsistent with the wind of change affecting the third world. See more in text.