Kenya’s media gets a black eye as they fall for rumors of Njenga Karume’s death…wikipedia updates his page
Posted by Administrator on February 4, 2012
By Antony Karanja-Jambonewspot.com
False reports/rumors circulating in Nairobi and in the Twitter world that the legendary Njenga Karume has passed away have been quashed by his family.
Various media outlets appeared to confirm the death while others took caution until a confirmation from the family was obtained.
One of the media personalities who exercised due diligence was Kiss FM’s Caroline Mutoko who sought to first confirm the rumors by calling his daughter Lucy Karume who denied that her father had passed on.
According to Ms Karume, the veteran politician is alive although he has not been well since returning home from India after undergoing treatment. He is said to be bedridden and critically ill.
“Someone has crossed the line, we need people to stop this rumour. My father is well, the President visited him yesterday.” Ms Karume said.
Miss Mutoko posted on her Facebook page…”Contrary to the rumors that seem to have originated from a section of the media – HON. NJENGA KARUME is NOT DEAD. Spoke to his daughter who’s livid at the insensitive rumors. He is well, he is alive. Tune in to Kiss, Classic, Radio Jambo, XFm and East Fm for the facts.”
The Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta upon getting wind of the rumors assured Kenyans that he is alive. He posted a message on his Facebook page…
“Having spent a wonderful afternoon yesterday in the company of Hon. Njenga Karume, who I found to be joyful and in good spirit, I am shocked to be made aware this morning of rumors of his passing on. As a people, let us desist from engaging in hearsay and rumor mongering as this ultimately leads to anguish, fear and pain to all those involved. Let us ensure that the truth always prevails. I wish our old man a long life and a speedy recovery.”
NTV Kenya which had posted a message on Facebook and Twitter “breaking” the news had to retract their updates after the family’s statement. Their message read….
“Earlier today, NTV reported on Twitter and Facebook that politician and businessman Njenga Karume had died. We have been reliably informed that this position in incorrect. The correct position is that he is bedridden and critically ill. We would like to apologise to Mr. Karume, his family, friends, associates and our audience for the incorrect information.”
On Twitter, they said..
@ntvkenya: CORRECTION: Njenga Karume is not dead, he is bedridden and critically ill. We apologise for an earlier misleading report..”
However, scores of Kenyans castigated them on Twitter and Facebook for “killing Mzee on social media” and for being irresponsible. In a swift cordinated attack, Kenyans unloaded on NTV with a barrage of scornful jabs.
Some of the jabs on Twitter read…
#NTVnews We are deeply sorry for the slight mix up…..its just that Njenga Karume had tweeted *DEAD* to one of our jokes. #ntvnews admits th@ thy were all stoned in the studio wen thy said njenga karume wz dead..weedmuffins #NTVNews Njenga karume escapes death by a whisker after NTV attempted to kill him
Churchill Kingangi also posted a message on Twitter saying
“mwalimuchurchilChurchill Ndambuki..R. I. P. Hon. Njenga Karume, a man full of legacies & achievements!”
After the family confirmed he is not dead, he later posted an apology to Hon. Njenga Karume and his family on Twitter..
“mwalimuchurchilChurchill Ndambuki..“Sincerest Apologies to Hon Njenga Karume & family, apparently he is very much alive, am also a victim of bad… ”
Wikipedia not to be outdone did not waste any time as it updated his page with his “death”.
The update disappeared for a while and we thought they had seen the light and removed it.
They re-updated it.. …incorrectly.
The Wikipedia post has since been deleted.
The days of factchecking seem to be outnumbered as various media houses rush to outdo each other on “breaking news”
Ah…the perils of social media and overzealous twitterers. For sure responsible journalism took a backseat on a Saturday morning.
Not a good start for someone’s weekend, was it?
UPDATE: Citizen TV visited the ailing Karume at his home. Royal Media Services chairman S.K.Macharia is seen here speaking with Hon. Karume….and as you can see, he is NOT bedridden.
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