Today is Jamhuri Day and for the first time in many weeks, I was home watching morning TV. There was an interesting piece called “global voices” on NTV with stories about citizen media issues and tolerance in Lebanon and Iran. At first, I thought it was a special documentary on CNNI or BBC then I realised I was watching Al Jazeera TV which the Nation Media Group had said it would start broadcasting had announced it would start broadcasting.
The screen graphics have the deep red of BBC and the presenters were a multi-cultural mix of black, Caucasian and Indian which I noticed when they mentioned all their correspondents and bureaus in Kenya, SA, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast etc. The only familiar face was Riz Khan who used to be on CNN years ago.
It’s refreshing to see some new media from another country’s perspective now. CNN started in 1990/91 and was later joined by BBC and SKY which local networks run their feeds in the morning.
I hope it is understood as an alternative to the ever-present (US/UK) news view and that NTV does not run a risk by rubbing viewers and advertisers the wrong way. There’s an undercurrent streak of anti-Islam or anti-Arab (without distinguishing which) views among common Kenyans which may be fanned by indiscriminate terrorist acts and some of our own religious leaders.
Whenever anything is done to accommodate Moslems such as Kadhi’s courts or Sharia banking services many Nairobians ask – why are they so special? whey can’t they conform like the rest? why are they imposing their religion on us? This is a myopic view of a religion that numbers almost 1/4 of the planet.
NTV which was recently added to DSTV now give their satellite viewers an early morning peek of Al Jazeera on their feeds.