It came down to irresponsible journalism and a lack of control today when owners of one of the leading Kenyan news and community sites, mrseed.com, were hit with a hefty £26,516 fine for defamation of character.
Mr Master Kay (Q.C) presided over the case in which Mr Peter Njiiri Karanja and his son Jackson Njiiri Karanja were ordered to pay the lawyer, Mr David Muroki Kague £26,000 in damages for defaming him through their website.
Mr Kague who practices law in the UK with the firm Moorehouse Solicitors in North West London, is claimed to have represented himself in his suit against Mr & Mr Karanja for the defamatory posting published on their website accusing Mr Kague for dishonestly soliciting money from people.
Mr Kague strongly denies any of the posted allegations and the case ending in this has given a clear and very strong warning to all Kenyan alternative media in the diaspora.
In the last 5 years, Kenyans and Ugandans living outside Kenya (Uganda) have seen great opportunity in this media outlet due to its huge margin potential with many sites making over £3,000 a month from advertising revenues and syndication. However these sites are rarely well controlled and focus purely on profit maximisation with little regard for lawful and responsible journalism. Many of the ‘Kenya and Ugandan Community’ sites have been known to be used by their owners and to settle disagreements or popularise their owners.
This comes as a strong warning and a welcome direction for Kenyans and Ugandan in the UK to leave petty disagreements and work together in order to strengthen our resolve and work on building our country.