The swift sacking of three Kenyan radio presenters who suggested women were to blame for gender-based violence should serve as a catalyst for change in the nation’s often sexist media, women’s campaigners said on Monday.
The three disc jockeys at Homeboyz Radio were fired on Saturday following outrage over their comments about an ongoing court case in which a man is accused of pushing a woman from the 12th floor of a building after she refused his advances.
Women’s campaigners said misogynistic remarks remained commonplace in the Kenyan media, but they welcomed the decisive action taken, adding that it might help bring change to media coverage of gender issues.
“This is the first time we’re seeing swift and public action. We saw corporate brands denouncing it, the radio station taking action and also the authorities,” Amnesty International Kenya chairperson Renee Ngamau who is a former prime-time radio host.
“These are the hopeful signs in a terrible situation. I’m cautiously optimistic this can be a catalyst for change in moving away from this ‘locker room banter’ on the airwaves to having more responsible, sensitive conversations,” she said.
Consistent training and gender sensitization for all media figures is essential, she added.
The Homeboyz presenters were sacked after social media users accused them of misogyny and victim-blaming following their comments on the court case, where the victim survived the fall from the building.
“Do you think Kenyan chiles [women] are too available, are they too loose, too willing, too desperate and that’s why they get themselves caught up in such situations?” DJ Shaffie Weru said during his The Lift Off breakfast show on Wednesday last week.
East African Breweries Ltd said it would stop advertising on the station, and — despite an apology from Weru and copresenters Joseph Munoru and Neville Muysa — the three were fired.
The nation’s broadcasting watchdog also suspended The Lift Off radio show for six months and fined the station 1 million Kenyan shillings (US$9,116), saying the program had “glorified sexual violence against women.”
It also ordered all staff at HomeBoyz to undergo gender training and sensitization certified by the National Gender and Equality Commission.
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