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Radio station denies it has political agenda

(NDIMA/IFEX) - On 9 October 2000, the managing director of the Nairobi-based Kameme FM station, Rose Kimotho, denied that the radio station had a political agenda and insisted that her firm was purely a commercial enterprise out to tap a specific niche in the market.

Kimotho was reacting to President Moi's Sunday 8 October attack on vernacular language broadcasting stations, when the president warned the stations that they needed to change and become transparent or they would be banned.

At a press conference held in her office, Kimotho said that it was misleading to claim that Kameme FM had no Kiswahili or English programmes. She announced that due to public demand by non-Kikuyu listeners, they had decided to increase their English and Kiswahili content in future programming in order to widen their reach.

Kimotho said the station had deliberately avoided airing news and programmes of a political or divisive nature since its inception seven months ago, in line with their editorial policy and mission statement. "We note with apprehension the reports appearing in the media regarding private vernacular stations. The mission of Kameme FM has guided its broadcast policy since its inception," she said, adding that the station's aim has been the provision of wholesome entertainment, dissemination of culture and the promotion of education.

Asked by journalists to react to the president's fear that vernacular stations could be misused by politicians and others to cause division and genocide as had happened in Rwanda, Kimotho said the two countries should not be compared. She said that, unlike Rwanda, Kenyans were more developed and aware of their rights, and cited the thirteen FM radio stations that are already operating in the country as an example. Kimotho also said that her station was ready to fully comply with any new legislation on the operation of the FM stations in the country whenever it is passed.

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