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Radio Africa to shut down The Star newspaper

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Radio Africa Group is once again planning to shed off its newspaper division, which consists of The Star newspaper, to save it from going into the red.

This is the second time the Radio Africa management is considering killing the newspaper due to diminished revenue mainly as a result of failure by the Government Advertising Agency (GAA) to pay for ads placed in the paper.

As at June this year, the GAA owed Radio Africa Group/The Star Publications Ksh 423 million in add debts, Standard Group is claiming Ksh 931 million from the government, Nation Media Group is asking for Ksh 835 million, Mediamax Network Ltd is yet to recover Ksh 462 million while Royal Media Services is demanding Ksh 60 million. In total, the government owes media houses Ksh 2.5 billion.

The news come a day after Business Today learnt that The Star Publication Ltd has not remitted membership contributions for its staff to Queensway Sacco.

he financial doldrums at Radio Africa saw the company last year introduce a tea vending machine which  allocates a certain amount of tea and sugar to each employee at the rate of one cup per person per day.

The rationalisation programme that saw several employees edged out but the exercise was halted following protests over the crude manner in which it was being executed.

The situation has been made worse by failure by government to remit advertising revenue and, perhaps, it may have played a role in Head of Content David Makali’s decision not to renew his contract. He is set to leave tomorrow at the expiry of his one-year contract.

Interestingly, Chief Operating Officer Caroline Mutoko was also reassigned as general manager, which is considered to have been a demotion.

In September, an analyst protested in article in The Star at the failure by the Government Advertising Agency to remit ad payments to media houses amounting to Ksh 2.5 billion.

READ: KTN TURNS INTO TRAININ GROUND FOR JOURNALISTS 

“The state’s claim that it was spending way too much on advertising and wanted to cut costs sounded less like prudence than a strategy to hit back at a vibrant media that sometimes gives the government a bloody nose. Three years after formation of the GAA, these fears linger. The agency owes the media Sh2.5 billion in advertising debts. This is a huge sum. Media houses are struggling to stay alive. Hiring and expansion have all but come to a halt. Journalists are staring at job losses while fresh graduates from the  growing number of media schools have no realistic chance of getting a job,” the article by Henry Makori, the English Edition Editor of Pambazuka News, read in part.

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