World Association of News Publishers

Financially Viable Media: Country Report - Kenya

Financially Viable Media: Country Report - Kenya

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Among all the world’s media markets, the size and state of African media are least understood, due to a lack of viable data and research. A new report on media in Kenya, released today by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the African Media Initiative (AMI), is a step toward filling this knowledge gap.

The report, part of a larger study of media in emerging and developing markets, focuses on a country that has arisen on the world stage as a dynamic new democracy, where technological innovation flourishes, traditional media businesses thrive, and the government operates with unprecedented openness.

Print and broadcast media have developed trusted, credible voices and play important roles in the national dialogue. Journalists and technologists have collaborated on energetic, leading-edge projects that are being replicated elsewhere. Kenya is now seen as a beacon of press freedom in the region and is being celebrated for innovation.

At the same time, the report notes some troubling realities.

The newly free media are subject to crippling reprisals under legacy libel laws. Vast numbers of people are not served by television, smartphones, or the Internet. The infrastructure needed to reach them is expensive and elusive. There are socioeconomic and geographic divides between urban and rural audiences: less than one-quarter of the population lives in urban areas equipped with modern technology. Outside the major cities, mobile and Internet sources of news are unavailable and too often unaffordable and are likely to remain so in the medium term.

The full report, which was released Thursday at the African Media Leaders Forum in Dakar, Senegal, can be downloaded, without charge, below.

“Media are undergoing unprecedented growth in many African countries, yet viable data in many markets is simply unavailable,” said Larry Kilman, Deputy CEO of WAN-IFRA, speaking at the report’s release at the African Media Leaders Forum.

“The continent has also been a major recipient of media development funds, but in many ways development agencies are operating in the dark. More knowledge is needed to make this aid even more effective. This report, and our ongoing work with AMI, is aimed at filling this knowledge gap,” he said.

AMI’s CEO, Amadou Mahtar Ba said that ‘AMI is pleased to partner with WAN-IFRA on this research report which not only offers important insights into the Kenyan case but also acts as an important resource base of best practices and successful business media models for countries across the continent.”

The Kenya report is part of a multi-year research project on “Financially Viable Media in Emerging and Developing Markets” that has produced country reports on Egypt, Georgia, Vietnam and Mozambique. Reports on Tunisia and Colombia are due later this year.  In parallel, WAN-IFRA conducts surveys to analyse trends in newsrooms across the globe, relying on the vast, global WAN-IFRA membership to participate in research

WAN-IFRA’s research and media development initiatives are part of a strategic partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to advance media development and press freedom worldwide. More on the partnership and its projects can be found at

WAN-IFRA’s partnership with the African Media Initiative is dedicated to strengthening media business in Africa, by expanding access to finance, development of new revenue streams, harnessing the digital revolution through technological adaptation and innovation, and building a competent leadership  through a commitment to improved ethics and management.”

About AMI

The African Media Initiative is an unprecedented pan-African effort aimed at providing the continent’s private and independent media owners and practitioners with the tools they need to play an effective role in their societies. AMI aims to strengthen the private and independent media sector in Africa to ensure the accountability of institutions and to promote social development, economic growth and the empowerment of the powerless, especially women.  More on AMI can be found at 


WAN-IFRA ( ), based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Deputy CEO and Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis, rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 07. Fax: +33 1 42 78 92 33. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:



Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2012-11-07 14:04

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Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2011-06-07 17:52

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...