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KTN unveils news channel with promise of bold coverage, regional reach

By Alphonce Shiundu | July 11th 2015
Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro (centre) proposes a toast to celebrate the launch of the new 24-hour KTN News channel at the Tribe Hotel in Nairobi Friday, together with Amani party leader Moses Mudavadi (third right), Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei (third left), Mrs Gladys Shollei (second left), businessman Chris Kirubi (left), Consultant Andrew Franklin (second right) and Standard MD Francis Munywoki (right). [PHOTO: GOVEDI ASUTSA/STANDARD]

The history of bold journalism met the promise of round-the-clock news coverage as the Standard Group, Kenya’s oldest media house, unveiled a new 24-hour television station with a reach of all member States of the East Africa Community, and South Sudan.

The colourful ceremony at Nairobi’s Tribe Hotel, saw the star-studded cast of award-winning presenters of Kenya’s most authoritative TV channel, KTN give the viewers a glimpse of what to expect from the new station.

“We want to reaffirm our fidelity to the precepts of journalism that those who began this station stood on... we will always be found trying to find out what happened, we will always ensure you get the whole story,” said Joe Ageyo, the Managing Editor of KTN.

The century-old media house that operates Kenya’s first private TV station, KTN, which turns 25 years this month, embarked on the regional expansion at a time when the march toward the economic and political integration gathers steam in East Africa as Kenya grapples with a 24-hour economy.

Pioneering role

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro, former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, billionaire businessman Chris Kirubi, prominent lawyer Patrick PLO Lumumba, the former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei and celebrated journalist Alex Chamwada, were among the guests that the Standard Group Chief Executive (CEO)Sam Shollei hosted at the prime-time launch.

Speaker Ethuro reeled out the history of KTN in exposing the famine in far-flung counties such as his native county of Turkana, the cattle-rustling, and the immense response it received; and hoped that the new channel will help boost the development in the counties.

“What KTN has done for this country, the pioneering role, has set standards in broadcast journalism,” said Ethuro. The Senate Speaker said the media and Parliament have to work together to make sure public interest is safeguarded.

“You have an opportunity to partner with Parliament because we are all watchmen for the public good. You have an opportunity to report fairly, with patriotism, objectively and to protect the national interest,” said Ethuro.

Prof Lumumba hailed the launch of the new station as a “catalyst” for a new age of media freedom and information flow not only in Kenya, but also in the Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan.

“We have a region plagued by poor politics, tribalism, and corruption. These are things that need to be addressed to boost socio-economic development in the region and I am sure this station will be a catalyst,” said Lumumba at the prime-time launch.

Lumumba added: “KTN has once again blazed the trail to create a TV network that will begin to tell the story of East Africa. It gladdens my heart that a TV station has declared on the day of its launch that it will tell the story of our region.

It will speak to the farm worker in Nairobi, the factory worker in Dar es Salaam, the market woman in Kampala and in Bujumbu

Shollei said the goal is to give information to the region, to improve the politics, boost businesses and spur investments.

“The stories of East Africa need to be told to the people,” said Shollei adding that the new station was a technological dividend arising from the digital migration, and it was meant to “change the behaviour of news consumption”.

People, the Group’s CEO added, will not be forced to rush home to catch up with news, but instead will always catch up with the latest headlines at the top of every hour.

“This is the beginning of a historic journey, a process and a revolution that is going to change our part of the world,” said Shollei.

KTN has put correspondents in all counties in the country to help with the coverage of devolved units.

“Devolution increased news sources and centres of decision-making. The new channel has expanded space for counties to discuss their affairs, track their vision and celebrate their successes,” said Shollei.

The Standard Group newspapers have dedicated sections to cover counties and the new channel will be serving a similar platform for the millions of TV viewers across the region. Businessman Kirubi said investors will be willing to put money in the first regional TV to tell the world about East Africa and thereby attract more investments and create more jobs.

The new channel can be accessed through all available digital platforms and regionally via DSTV.

The group will also seek partnership with other TV stations in East and Southern Africa in the coming months to have it accessed in the region.

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