Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) chief executive Ezekiel Mutua is on the receiving end after walking out on a TV station moments before he was interviewed. Mutua even bragged about the “walk-out” on his Facebook page, arguing that his hosts took his presence for granted.
“A local TV station has been chasing me for a morning show for quite a while,” he wrote. “Today I showed up at 7am as requested but was kept waiting for half an hour as they analysed newspapers and ran stale stories. I removed their microphones and left.”
Kenya Union of Journalists Secretary General Eric Oduor criticised the move, and called on media houses to give Mutua “a total blackout”. Already, mainstream media has ostracised him and rarely cover his functions and press conferences.
Business Today has learned that the TV station in question is Ebru Africa, which had invited Mutua for a wide-ranging interview on media including among others, regulation of broadcast content.
Apparently, the producer had told Mutua that he will be interviewed from 7am. Mutua says he arrived at Ebru TV studios on James Gichuru Road before 7am, but had not been taken to the studio more than half an hour later.
“At 5am this morning I spoke to one of the managers to confirm the time and structure,” he explained. “I was told I would be on set 7am to 8am. I was there before 7am but they kept moving me from one room to another. When I complained about time, I was ushered into the studio and was miked. Then left to pack there as the duo of presenters analysed one newspaper after the other.”
It is normal practice in TV and radio studios to ask a person set to appear on TV to arrive early enough for studio preparation and also to avoid last-minute traffic hitches that can interfere with programming. That would have been the spirit in which the producer told Mutua to get in early.
Also, every talk-show has its own format, which sometimes is preceded with news or reviews of certain events.
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Some journalists wondered whether Mutua wanted the TV’s programming to be changed to accommodate him out of schedule. Yet also, he had supporters for his move, with many of his Facebook followers praising him for standing by his principles, accusing TV stations of being time-waters.
“They (his host) looked quite oblivious of me and didn’t seem to respect my time. As a CEO, I have better things to do than to waste Govt time waiting to be interviewed by people who don’t keep time.”
But of even great concern, he added, is the sacrifice his staff made to ensure that he honours the appointment. “I can’t allow anyone to take that sacrifice for granted. Some of these media houses are arrogant. They are overrated!”