Former Nation Media Group employee, Albert Gachiri once got in trouble, when he published false information that had been given to him by his bosses.
At that time Gachiri was in charge of the online department of NTV, spearheading the station’s online agenda, managing content, and running social media networks and other interactive components of its web platforms.
The journalist, on his personal online blog, narrated that on the night before February 4, 2012, he got a call from a senior editor to whom he reported to, about the demise of former Cabinet Minister Njenga Karume.
Gachiri posted the news, which, unfortunately, turned out to be false and he was subsequently suspended for the mistake.
“Earlier today, NTV reported on Twitter and Facebook that politician and businessman Njenga Karume had died. We have been reliably informed that this position in incorrect. The correct position is that he is bedridden and critically ill. We would like to apologise to Mr.Karume, his family, friends, associates and our audience for the incorrect information,” the media house clarified.
Gachiri narrated how he decided to resign rather than prolong what he described as the "pain from the apparent denial of fairness or justice".
“But should the blame have been entirely apportioned to an individual, or was it the company's newsgathering and verification process that had failed, and hence the need for the responsibility to be borne collectively?
“It became increasingly clear that my neck was squarely being put on the chopping board, going by the contents of the suspension letter handed to me, later that day,” the scribe recalled.
Gachiri regretted that he made an assumption that his bosses had verified the information before passing it down to him.
“The information I pushed out was provided by somebody senior to me at the company. Furthermore, another senior editor did corroborate the details shortly afterwards. So, when did it become a professional crime to follow the lead of one's superiors at work?” he wondered.
“My assumption was that before the person I reported to decided to call me, when I was asleep in my house, he had done the necessary background check and taken this sensitive information through the due diligence.
“To make matters worse, I have reasons to believe that my seniors had already been made aware that the former Cabinet minister in question was then still alive, by the following morning. But none of them thought it wise to call me, to at least negate the discussion we had had the previous night,” Gachiri lamented.
Gachiri was able to dust himself soon after and get his journalism career back on track. He currently works at Chinese-owned CGTN as the news editor.
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