Media Council of Kenya: DP Ruto received more airtime than Raila

UDA Presidential Candidate William Ruto at a town hall meeting in Nairobi on July 7 2022 [Samson Wire, Standard]

UDA presidential candidate William Ruto received the most coverage in the last two weeks, the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has said in a new report.

The council says since July 1, the deputy president has received 46 per cent of airtime, followed by Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga at 45 per cent.

George Wajackoyah of Roots Party received 6 per cent of coverage, while David Mwaure of Agano Party got 3 per cent of media airtime.

“The increase in DP Ruto’s media coverage is attributed to his coalition’s manifesto launch on June 30,” the Media Council of Kenya said in a press statement dated Wednesday, July 13.

“During the period, the DP’s coalition received 14 per cent mention in print media compared to Raila’s 12 per cent, and 61 per cent coverage in radio against Raila’s 58 per cent. While Ruto leads in both print and radio coverage, Raila retains an edge over the DP on television coverage at 29 per cent against DP Ruto’s 26 per cent,” said the Media Council of Kenya.

The other two candidates in the race, Wajackoyah and Mwaure, have equally recorded an increase in coverage following the release of their respective manifestos.

The MCK report stated that journalists felt safer covering Azimio la Umoja rallies than Kenya Kwanza rallies.

“Most journalists feel safer and comfortable working with Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja Coalition than Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza. A survey by the Media Council to gauge perception of media and journalists towards the presidential candidates indicates 49 per cent feel safer working with Raila, while Ruto received 31 per cent backing. Only 17 per cent felt comfortable covering Root Party’s Wajackoyah.”

The discomfort by journalists toward the Kenya Kwanza camp has been attributed to the frequent removal of journalist from Ruto’s functions.

In late June, Ruto complained that the media was biased against him, according more coverage to Raila Odinga than him. He even threatened to boycott the presidential debate scheduled for July 26, citing media unfairness.

A June 24 MCK report estimated that Ruto received 38.2 per cent of media coverage between June 6 and June 24, while Odinga got 61.2 per cent of airtime.

The report also mentioned that Odinga’s running mate, Martha Karua, received more coverage than her competitors.

Martha enjoyed 78 per cent airtime, Kenya Kwanza's Rigathi Gachagua had 20.9 per cent, Justina Wamae of Roots Party got 0.22 per cent and Ruth Mutua of Agano Party had zero per cent coverage.