Kenya profile - Media

  • Published
Newspapers reporting on the win William Ruto as Kenya's president, August 2022Image source, Getty Images

Kenya has a lively media scene and a small number of big players dominates the industry.

One of them, Nation Media Group, also operates in neighbouring countries. The state-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) is funded from advertising and a government budget.

Television is the leading medium and free-to-air digital terrestrial TV is the most popular platform. Privately-owned Citizen TV is the top station in terms of audience and revenue.

Radio is flourishing and there were more than 180 licensed stations by mid-2021. Entertainment, music and phone-ins dominate their output. Radio is an important medium in rural areas, where most Kenyans live. Many stations broadcast in local languages other than English or Swahili.

Full-time FM relays of the BBC World Service are on the air in Nairobi (93.9), Mombasa (93.9) and Kisumu (88.1).

The highly-competitive press scene is the most sophisticated in east Africa. Print media are dominated by two publishing houses, the Nation and Standard.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in 2021 that politicians "exercise a great deal of influence over both state and privately-owned media, which censor themselves". It said journalists "are routinely subjected to physical attacks by the security forces and the public".

Kenya leads the region in internet connectivity, mobile phone use and social media engagement. Mobile devices are the main means of access. There were 47 million internet users by December 2021, comprising 85% of the population (InternetWorldStats).

A 2018 cyber crime law has been criticised for criminalising vaguely-defined offences and for allowing for punitive measures against journalists.

There were around 12.4 million active Facebook users by January 2022 (InternetWorldStats). Media organisations, politicians, activists, influencers and brands dominate social media.

Press

  • Daily Nation - market-leading daily published by the Nation Media Group
  • The Standard - privately-owned daily, Kenya's oldest newspaper
  • The Star - privately-owned daily
  • The EastAfrican - weekly, published by the Nation Media Group
  • Taifa Leo - Swahili daily published by the Nation Media Group

Television

Radio

News agency/internet

Around the BBC