JACKAL NEWS – Uhuru Kenyatta’s party PR staff are grappling with a silly goof that backfired on their face after seemingly ”attempting to bribe” journalists with food at The National Alliance party launch, possibly dousing upbeat coverage of the inaugural event for the party.
While they had an option of simply inviting journalists to cover The National Alliance (TNA) launch on May 20, Kenyatta/party PR staff chose to make a huge drama about it, putting a series of conditions for media crews covering it. What stood out was that all reporters planning to cover the function must register so that they can be given free lunch, and some other excuses.
Editors and the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) boss criticized the way the issue was handed by TNA/Kenyatta PR people.
Kenya Editors’ Guild Chairman Macharia Gaitho flatly rejected Kenyatta’s PR demand that crews — reporters, photographers, camera and technical crew — to present their names before the event where he is expected to unveil the National Alliance as his vehicle to seek the presidency.
”I feel that the accreditation requirement for the launch of Uhuru’s party are restrictive and an attempt at control,” Gaitho lamented.
KUJ Secretary-General Jared Obuya said it was condescending. ”Kenyatta is starting his campaign on a wrong footing. The lunch offer, while it could have been done in good faith, implies that he is out to influence the coverage of his event.”
But in a one page explanation issued late Thursday by Machel Waikenda David Musau for TNA, they apologized for mentioning lunch in the earlier statement, but insisted that accreditation was still mandatory.
They also added another line suggesting that the two maybe novices in dealing with the media. ”We agree that it [the lunch] can be interpreted as demeaning, the intention was to appreciate that the newsroom crews in the different media zones may not have time to move around and also to play an active role in a healthy media partnership.”
And in another potentially disgusting line in the statement, they wrote: ”Those who cover the event can be assured of a different and engaging journalism experience and will have access to a fully equipped Media Centre.”
”What experience? This is patronizing. This is just an ordinary party launch, not White House inauguration. Kenyatta should hire other PR people to handle this mess,” a newspaper editor screamed.