Problematising News Media Ownership Patterns in Kenya: Who Controls Media Industry in the Global South?

  • Michael Otieno Otieno; Michael M. Ndonye
Keywords: Media ownership patterns, global south, news media industry


The main aim of this paper is to investigate media ownership patterns and analyse the implications of such patterns in Kenya—while thinking globally. Notably, media industry has attracted politicians and business tycoons around the world. It is one of the most lucrative industries that come with a lot of power and influence. From the literature reviewed in this analysis, it is evident that very few studies have been done to critically look at the media ownership patterns in Kenya and the implications such ownership have in the media market place. The paper is aimed at answering three questions. 1) What has been the media ownership pattern in Kenya since independence? 2) What does media ownership patterns mean to the Kenyan Media industry? 3) How does this pattern in Kenya compare to the rest of the world? Analysis from this research seems to demonstrate that most media outlets in Kenya are either politically owned or have some political agenda attached to them. As a result of such pattern, the Kenyan media experience narrow content and lack of alternative viewpoint of news and information disseminated to the public. Secondly, there is lack of balance since the main aim of the media is to advance political agenda as opposed to being the fourth estate—that watchdogs the government on behalf of the society. The findings also indicate that there are similarities in media ownership in Kenya and those around the world. When the political class owns the media, its normative roles are compromised, the editorial independence is skewed, and the media loses its impact as a cultural institution. The recommendation is that only community media can undo the pattern that is being established by politically owned media industry.