The Standard Group has responded to accusations of plagiarizing a Nation article, explaining that republishing of the article resulted from a technical fault in its online content systems.
According to Patel Okumu, the editor of Standard Digital, the article by David Muchui from Meru County, was meant to be published on a different platform jointly run by three media houses, but ended up appearing on Standard’s main website.
He said the three leading media houses in Kenya – Nation, Standard and Royal Media Services – have created a common website, debates, which aggregates election related content from their digital platforms.
The website is managed by Standard including the technical development and uploading of articles. Mr Okumu, who spoke to Business Today, said all websites under Standard share a content management system (CMS) that manages articles.
And since by default all newly published articles appear on the standardmedia.co.ke, the mother website of the group’s digital portals, the article from Nation was automatically picked by the Standard website.
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“It’s not plagiarism at all,” he said. “It was that technical issue and not an editorial decision. We noticed the anomaly and pulled down the article from the Standard website.”
A technical manager on Standard digital said they have streamlined tags in the CMS and disabled the default publishing of all articles on the mother website. “We have disabled debates stories from appearing on the Standard website,” he said. “That technicality had escaped our developer.”
The republishing of the article verbatim on Standard website had raised a storm among Nation editors, who accused its rival of plagiarizing its content.
The debates website was launched on May 9th 2017 and is aimed at driving issues of the presidential debates scheduled for 10th and 24th July as well as the running mates debates that will be held on 17th July, all at the Catholic University.
The website also seeks to use media to create an issue based debate and give candidates a platform to interact and engage with the electorate in an effort to help voters make an informed decision.