We respect the media but...CS Eliud Owalo speaks on media attacks

ICT CS Eliud Owalo at Maseno school on 5th July 2023. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo says the government is planning to cut down the costs of media advertising. 

Owalo made the sentiments on a live show on Wednesday night.

Despite this, the CS argues that the move is not meant to cripple the media but is a response to emerging issues in the media environment.

“You see; it is not the role of government to finance the media. It so happens that the government has to build advertising in the media, but the government cannot be the single source of revenue for the media. You must think outside the box...If anything without the box. You cannot continue doing your business the way you used to. And you cannot look at the government as the single source of revenue for the media. You must adapt to change,” Owalo held.

“And as much as I don't want to preempt some of the plans I have as the Cabinet Secretary responsible for that functional mandate, I don't see why the government should continue spending the amount of money that is spent on advertisement revenue. We are going to reengineer that space completely in the not-too-distant future. But note that we are not against the media, only that we have to respond to emerging issues in their environment, including but not limited to technology,” he added. 

Additionally, Owalo reiterated that he is the official spokesperson of the government on ICT matters. As a result, he downplayed sentiments by other senior government officials against members of the fourth estate.

“Let me tell you. The official position of the government is that we respect the freedom of the media as enshrined in our 2010 Constitutional dispensation. At no point in time has the government stated unequivocally, that the freedom of the media is not going to be upheld. We respect the freedom of the media. We respect freedom of expression." 

However, the CS also accused members of the press of being biased in reporting, alleging that they supported President William Ruto’s opponent in the August 2022 Election.

“Let's face reality. I believe that the media is still facing a hangover from the last elections. The media was not impartial at all during the last elections. And it seems that the media up to today has still not accepted that the candidate that they supported in the last elections did not win last elections,” claimed Owalo. 

His sentiments come a fortnight after President Ruto appointed billionaire Narendra Raval as the chairperson of the Steering Committee tasked with overseeing reforms at the Government Press.

According to the Head of Public Service Felix Koskei, Raval will lead a task force mandated to modernize and transform the Government Press into an efficient and commercially viable entity.