K24's Anne Kiguta Under Fire Over Babu Owino Interview

  • Combination image of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino and K24 Anchor Anne Kiguta
    Combination image of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino and K24 Anchor Anne Kiguta
    File
  • Embakasi East MP Babu Owino spoke to Kenyans.co.ke on Sunday, May 24, after an announcement by K24 that he would be interviewed by Ann Kiguta on her talk-show, Punchline, opened the floodgates of angry responses from Kenyans.

    Babu promised to answer all the questions they had raised, seemingly surprised by the overwhelming response to the planned interview.

    "I can only tell them to tune in. They will hear everything they want to hear. We will handle it well, with an iron fist covered with a velvet glove," he stated, asserting that he would not avoid scrutiny on any issue.

    The MP, who has recently earned plaudits for teaching online Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) revision classes, was charged with attempted murder following the shooting of Felix Orinda alias DJ Evolve at B-Club, Nairobi in January.

    From left: Comedian Felix Odiwour (Jalang'o) hosts Embakasi East MP Babu Owino on Bonga na Jalas on Thursday, April 30, 2020
    From left: Comedian Felix Odiwour (Jalang'o) hosts Embakasi East MP Babu Owino on Bonga na Jalas on Thursday, April 30, 2020
    File

    He told Kenyans.co.ke that, after finding success with Maths and Chemistry classes, he was set to bring more teachers on board to expand the initiative.

    "So far, we have been doing Maths and Chemistry but we'll be expanding the program to include more teachers so that we can cover more subjects.

    "We've gotten positive responses from candidates and parents. They are realising that this is a useful tool that can help our children and it is they who have suggested that we expand the program to include other subjects," Babu stated.

    The Punchline episode set to air on Sunday, May 24, at 9:00 p.m, revived long-standing accusations against mainstream Kenyan media of whitewashing the reputations of elected officials caught up in various scandals.

    The announcement of the interview saw the fury of a section of Kenyans online directed towards Anne Kiguta, with some viewers expressing disappointment.

    Kiguta's Punchline is a prime-time political talk-show that regularly has some of the biggest names in politics and governance as guests.

    It also features strong, hard-hitting editorial comments delivered by Kiguta which have seen the anchor attacked by politicians on multiple occasions.

    Jeff Koinange, the host of the Jeff Koinange Live on Citizen TV, has faced his fair share of critics who maintain that his show works to clean up the public images of tainted officials.

    His willingness to host high-profile guests implicated in graft has been cited by the critics as an essential part of re-casting tainted individuals in the public eye.

    These connotations have contributed to negative sentiment against Kenyan media houses, sometimes derogatorily christened githeri media.

    The right to be heard, however, remains a sacred element of journalism that cannot be disregarded, with journalists expected to deliver both sides of the story.

    At the same time, some would argue that the quest for ratings, particularly in a cut-throat media industry, contributes more to such programs than the principles of journalism.

    K24 Journalist Anne Kiguta in the studio during her Punchline show on April 19, 2020.
    K24 Journalist Anne Kiguta in the studio during her Punchline show on April 19, 2020.
    K24 Digital