Pubdate: Tue, 03 Jun 2003
Source: East African Standard, The (Kenya)
Copyright: 2003 The East African Standard
Author: Dominic Wabala


Nairobi -- The media in the country has not effectively used their two 
major tools of investigation and campaigns in the fight against 
drug-trafficking and abuse.

According to East African Standard Managing Editor, Kwendo Opanga, 
investigations and campaigns by the media have effectively been used to 
address pertinent issues previously and should be employed to fight the 
drug menace in society.

Opanga was presenting a paper on positive and negative empowerment of the 
public by the media on narcotics at a workshop of Training of Trainers 
organised by the National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse 
(Nacada) in Nairobi. Opanga pointed out the investigative capacities of the 
Kenyan media houses have not been exploited to the optimum because of lack 
of resources.

He said Kenya's media houses have not set out a aggressive campaign agenda 
against drug-trafficking and abuse for a long time.

Opanga urged media houses to step up campaigns and investigations against 
drug abuse and trafficking because of the damaging effects of both the 
substances and the money acquired from them on individuals and society.

The editor said it would be unfair for media houses to give up the fight 
due to the fact that government world-wide have spent colossal amounts of 
money in the fight but have not won the war.

He observed the majority of Kenyans were opposed to decriminalising of drug 
use due to its effect on individuals and the society at large.

Drug barons, he said, corrupt the society because of the huge amounts of 
money they have.

He said the Kenyan media need to do more in educating and informing the 
population on the effects and dangers of drug abuse. Opanga pointed out 
that traffickers will not hesitate to use guns 'to protect their territory.'

He noted that there is a strong relationship between drug trafficking and 
the upsurge in crime within Nairobi and Mombasa. The editor, however, 
applauded the media for exposing some of the vices in Kenya.
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