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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Communications Authority fines Homeboyz Radio Sh1million for derogatory remarks

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) has also fined Homeboyz Radio Sh1 million over gender insensitive remarks made by three of its presenters last Wednesday

The trio who have since been fired by the Radio Africa-owned station, were accused of shaming a victim of sexual violence during the ‘Lift Off morning Show.

The woman identified as Eunice Wangare is alleged to have been thrown off the 12th floor of a building by Moses Gatama Njoroge, a man she met on Facebook, after rejecting his sexual advances.

CA Director General Mercy Wanjau condemned the utterance further imposing a six month suspension on the ‘offending show’ until the station demonstrates compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements.

The DG directed that the station’s staff undergo training and sensitization on gender issues.

The Homeboyz Radio a platform under, Radio Africa, had on Friday evening terminated the service of presenter Shaffie Weru, Joseph Munoru (DJ Mfalme) and Neville Muysa with immediate effect. 

The termination followed a comprehensive review of the comments made on the station on Thursday morning and their subsequent suspension from employment.

“Our partners and listeners will not be surprised by this action to terminate their services as it is the right thing to do,” Homeboyz Radio General Manager Somoina Kimonjino said in a statement on Saturday evening.

She added; “The comments of said erstwhile employees were neither authorized, approved nor cleared with the company nor was the subject discussed and or authorized by the company’s senior leadership. We are deeply disappointed in their conduct.”

On Friday, the three were suspended for two weeks in relation to comments they made that appeared to victim shame and justify sexual assault against women.

And on Sunday, Media Council of Kenya (MCK) threw its weight behind the sacking of the three saying that utterances about an unfortunate incident involving Ms. Eunice Wangare, who was allegedly thrown off the 12th floor of a building was unfavorable.

The matter was flagged out by the Council while carrying out its regular Media Monitoring function.

In line with the enforcement process, the MCK issued a notice demanding retraction and apology for violation of clauses 21,23 and 24 of the journalism code of conduct, that speak to use of pictures and names, acts of violence and editor’s responsibility.

“The Council takes note of the action taken by the management of the radio station, against the individuals and commends them for taking responsibility as a sign of commitment, to uphold ethical standards in their programming. Consequently, the Council will be keen on following up on such matters to enforce compliance as per the Media Council Act 2013,” said MCK Chief Executive David Omuoyo.

In addition, East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has also announced pausing advertising on programs associated with Homeboyz Radio presenters Shaffie Weru, Neville, and DJ Joe Mfalme in support of investigations into disparaging remarks made by the three on morning drive show, The Lift Off.

EABL expressed its dismay to Radio Africa Group (RAG), which controls Homeboys Radio, about the conduct of the presenters, who on Wednesday, March 24 made remarks that implied to support acts of gender violence on women.

The brewer noted that it, alongside the Guinness brand, is a significant advertiser on a variety of programs on RAG, and discourages gender insensitive statements including negative portrayal of women in all its marketing campaigns.

“Beginning Thursday, March 26, EABL paused all forms of advertising on all programmes related with these presenters. As a precondition to revert to our advertising partnership, we have asked RAG to conduct due diligence in the selection of presenters and embed a robust consequence management plan on those that do not abide by the code of conduct. We have also asked RAG to ensure continuous training programme for presenters to be sensitized on gender matters and commit to airing that will address negative gender narratives,” read EABL’s statement in part.

Already Homeboyz has offered an apology on its official social media pages as well as made a statement over the same.

 “Homeboyz Radio sincerely apologizes to Eunice Wangari and our listeners for the comments made by the presenters. Homeboyz Radio does not condone sexual assault, violence against women, victim shaming and any actions by men who do not respect women, women’s choices, and voices,” reads part of RAG apology.

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