As CORD Leader Raila Odinga took a potentially disastrous decision to ‘stand with the media’ as he has always done, his co-principal and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has not openly stated his position on the digital migration fiasco.
And Kalonzo is right not to do so; for it serves the country to let the mainstream media go digital, or, if they don’t want to, let the country go digital. A whole world of opportunities are already opening up. Nothing, since independence, has challenged media dominance than digital migration is doing.
President Obama would say, ”the ground beneath has fundamentally shifted”.
Despite digital migration being a project that was started in the grand coalition government with an international deadline, Odinga took the view that the manner in which the government is handling it has unnecessarily disadvantaged ‘traditional’ television stations which has the highest viewers.
Odinga is right in remaining true to his beliefs – for no one believes in media freedom than Odinga – but times are changing and that ‘freedom’ today may mean something very different from what it traditionally has been.
Digital Migration has been in the works for sometime now – and the major media stations played a bigger role, through advertisements, in selling the hardware (topboxes) of the companies which now lead in the digital transmission of broadcast contents.
Again, as Odinga defended the ‘money market’ for the traditional mainstream media, the three main Tv stations switched off themselves from the airwaves, giving the complaint Uhuru-owned K24 and state-owned KBC (the state is also now owned by Uhuru) all the airtime to bring to their studios those they wanted to deliver the digital migration spin to the public.
The public seems to believe them, and the country has moved on, delivering a fatal blow to the monopoly and manipulative tactics of the three media firms.
Right now, the truth is lost in the details and those who played hard-ball with it – like President Uhuru – or played their cards close to their chests – Like Kalonzo – seem to have the upper political mileage on this issue.