Monday, 11 October 2010

Kenyan media houses plagiarize Reuters

Kenya's Daily Nation, Capital FM and tabloid The Star have picked an exclusive story from Reuters news agency, twisting and rewriting it, but clearly underscoring the fact that newsrooms are still staffed with people who do not understand anything about plagiarism.

On 9 October, Reuters carried a story (news feed) they titled : ''KENYA-ECONOMY/ (INTERVIEW), INTERVIEW-Kenyan finance minister doesn't fear court'', in which Kenyan Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said that neither he nor his country had anything to fear from pending International Criminal Court arrest warrants over 2007 election violence. The agency later on published the story on its website.

The UK news agency clearly said in the story that Kenyatta spoke to Reuters, and not a press conference. Basically, the story was exclusive to Reuters.

Now, on Monday 11 October and hours earlier, Daily Nation, Kenyan's biggest newspaper and Capital FM radio website and the sensationalist The Star carried the story but without attribution that the story was from Reuters.
The story is in the front page of the Daily Nation, The Star and also the main story on Capital FM web. The closest the Daily Nation came to attributing the story was in saying , ''in an interview with a news agency''. But it can only be fair to just attribute the story to the source, even if you pay Reuters to access the story.

The three media outlets rewrote sections of the story, giving their reporters bylines for the story, implying that their own reporters interviwed Kenyatta in Washington.

They also said Kenyatta spoke to the media in the USA; which is a lie. The minister spoke exclusively to Reuters. Journalists and editors need to understand the conditions of using wire copy.

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