For part 1 of this article, click here.
With a complainant and a good lawyer the Nakuru radio station, Hero FM, that delivered news of HIV/AIDS infection to an unsuspecting man can be found guilty and fined. This is because the programme followed a plot similar to the one Ciku Muiruri of Classic 105 followed in 2010.
In the Classic 105 incident both Classic and Ciku were fined a total of sh800,000 for the offense after the Aids Law Project (ALP) lodged a complaint with the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), in which Classic 105 was the first respondent and Ciku Muiruri was the second respondent.
“In the said broadcast, the 2nd Respondent under the direct control, knowledge and authority of 1st respondent impersonated the wife of a cheating spouse who was allegedly the boss of the lady he was having an extra marital affair with and while role playing the part of the wife of a cheating spouse, disclosed allegedly that the cheating spouse was HIV positive,”
reads information available on the MCK website about the case.
“It is the complainant’s contention that the broadcast of the HIV/AIDS status of a person without their consent on national radio is breach of the person’s right to privacy as provided for under Article 31 (c) of the Constitution,” the information further reads.
The ALP argued that the respondents contravened this right when they made it easy for the person to be identified.
“Disclosing the HIV/AIDS status of a person even though not disclosing their full identity but nevertheless information that friends and close associates of a person would easily speculate or even correctly identify the identity of that person like putting their voice on radio without distorting it and their names,” reads the MCK website.
In defense, Ciku Muiruri stated that
“it was the woman’s spouse who called her and asked her to bust the cheating couple,”
“the show is meant to expose cheating spouses in order to curb the vice.”
But she also admitted that at times she would fabricate a story for the ‘Busted’ segment “and does not rely on a real story to ‘bust’ a spouse.”
“She also admitted that she used HIV / AIDS as a prank in this particular busted and has never used it before.”
“she understood that the tenets of journalism were to entertain, educate and inform, she stated that she was not familiar with the Code of Conduct for the practice of journalism.”
The Code of Conduct stipulates that unless in exceptional cases where the public’s right to know is at stake the consent of the interviewee must be sought before recording interviews and telephone conversations.
“Before recording a telephone conversation for broadcast, or broadcasting a telephone conversation live, a station shall inform any party to the call of its intention to broadcast the conversation,” the code reads in part.
“Intrusion and inquiries into an individual’s private life without the person’s consent are not generally acceptable unless public interest is involved,”
the code says. Private life in this case includes
“a person’s home, family, religion, tribe, health, sexuality personal life and private affairs.”
In contrast to Ciku Muiruri though, the presenter at the Nakuru radio has benefited several times from trainings by the Media Council of Kenya in which the Ciku Muiruri programme is always cited as a case study to irresponsible journalism.
However, it is to be noted that for the Nakuru radio and its presenter to have a case to answer there has to be a complainant who has to approach the MCK first like the Aids Law Project did in the Ciku Muiruri/Classic 105 case. Listen it here