kenyanews · kenyascene · writer's diary

CNN’s Reference to Kenya was Defamatory


When the Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie cautioned against the danger of a single story we may have taken her lightly. Then the truth in her words exhibited itself in the open the moment CNN chose to refer to Kenya as a hotbed of terror.

This defamatory reference resulted to an online war of nerves with Kenyans on social media struggling to clean the mess. But how did such a headline merit broadcasting? Was the news story not cross-checked?

It is the single story of Garissa and Westgate attacks that makes the aforesaid media to christen us the hot bed stereotype.

The Obama visit was expected to help Kenya secure a prestigious place in a global entrepreneurial map.  But with CNN profiling Kenya from a not so secure outlook we seem to achieve the opposite. Now the West and the rest of Africa are now consuming this fallacy, thanks to CNN.


Looking around it’s justifiable that Kenya has achieved so much. From athletics to agriculture, from infrastructural to fiscal growth. Yet, from CNN credo we seem not to be hotbeds to our successes but our failures to thrive.

The media organization also goes ahead to tweet, in verbatim, that President Obama isn’t just heading to his father’s homeland but to a hot bed of terror.  Why does it not acknowledge that Obama’s presence will help Kenya be a hot bed for entrepreneurial growth? Or Obama is heading to a hot bed of athletics?


The Garissa and Westgate attacks have been broaden up, by help of logical induction, to imply that Kenya is a hot bed of terror.  And developing a story with regard to the ditto accentuates our dark history and even making it sound darkest. To cap it all,  the headline was ill-boding, extremely.

They later posted an editor’s note for clarification that the headline had been recast to indicate that the terror threat is a regional one. We take the apology. Partially, not fully because the spectrum of discomfiture caused by such defamation can’t subside by just mentioning an apology. It will take time before such wound heal completely.

However, other media organizations should learn from this mistake and the necessity of cross checking news stories before they merit for print or broadcast.


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