NTV presenter Larry Madowo has revealed that his #Front Row column in the Daily Nation was discontinued this week days after he accused Nation Media Group Editor-in-Chief Tom Mshindi of threatening to “kill” it after he wrote an article that was critical of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i’s leadership style.
Madowo tweeted Friday that the clolumn, which has been running every Tuesday for the last four years, did not appear in this week’s edition but interestingly, global television network CNN, published it.
“This week, the
@dailynation refused to print my column for the first time in nearly 4 years. The irony aside, the same piece is now published on CNN,” the outspoken journalist tweeted.
In the article published by CNN, Madowo, who alongside NTV General Manager Linus Kaikai and fellow anchor Ken Mijungu were forced to spend the night in the newsroom last week following a tip police were out to arrest them for live streaming the swearing in of NASA leader Raila Odinga as the “People’s President”, narrates the perils of being a journalist in today’s Kenya.
He recounts the moment the government shut down NTV together with Citizen TV, KTN News and Inooro TV for defying a government order not to air the NASA event live for security reasons. The stations have since resumed operations following a court order.
He also reveals that top NMG executives were reluctant to go to court, like Royal Media’s S.K. Macharia, to challenge the Communications Authority’s move and instead opted to “negotiate” with the government.
“In the hours after the shutdown, top executives held off going to contest the illegal move in court, preferring instead to ‘negotiate’ with senior government officials about returning on air. All they received was radio silence before the Interior cabinet secretary’s tough stance the next day, widely seen as a middle finger to the broadcasters,” he writes.
At a press conference, Matiang’i announced the government had commenced a wide scale investigation targeting individuals and organisations, who include media.
It is not clear whether NMG opted not to publish the article for fear of reprisals following the NTV shutdown or whether it was a fulfillment of Mshindi’s threat.
But at a staff meeting three weeks ago, during which Madowo clashed with former CEO Joe Muganda for not coming to the defence of journalist Justus Wanga after he was threatened by Deputy President William Ruto’s media aide David Mugonyi. He revealed that Mshindi had told him his #FRONTROW column would be discontinued after he attacked Matiang’i.
In the article “Matiang’i leadership style delusive” published on 9th January, Madowo poked holes into Matiangi’s management style, adding that the CS doesn’t like criticism.“What do Fred Matiang’i and Alfred Mutua have in common?” he wrote. “They dominate media coverage and social media feeds with one “achievement” after another as if they work miracles or have superpowers while their colleagues appear like lesser mortals incapable of getting anything right.”
Apart from anchoring news and hosting the Side Bar programme, Madowo is the Technology Editor at NTV and he uses the #Front Row column to articulate developments in the industry.