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Kenya could cancel CNN deal over ‘terror’ hotbed reports

The Kenya government is considering canceling a multi-million-shilling advertising deal with America’s Cable News Network International over what it calls consistently negative coverage by the broadcaster, according to online reports.

Last week, as US President Barack Obama was coming to Kenya, CNN ran a story referring to Kenya as a “terror hotbed”.

This angered both the government and citizens, prompting Kenyans on Twitter to launch an online war on CNN with the trending Tweeter hash tag #SomeOneTellCNN.

The government, through Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, demanded an apology from CNN, saying the report was inaccurate and “based on lies”.

“Our attention has been drawn to a media report by CNN earlier today seeking to discredit the status of Kenya as a secure nation. This announcement is based on lies and is without verification,” Mr Nkaissery said.


Later, the Kenya Tourism Board said the one-year advertising deal between Kenya and CNN has been suspended.

The deal was announced by CNN at the Indaba travel event in Durban, South Africa, one of the continent’s largest tourism expos, in May this year.

The long-term strategic campaign to promote Kenya began with digital advertising on the Travel section of CNN International’s website, with KTB spearheading the promotion.

This was followed by integrated advertising across the CNN International network which includes two bespoke 30-second spot advertisements both on-air and online.

CNN’s management is said to have sent its marketing consultants to hold meetings with the government over the matter.

At the same time, hoteliers at the Coast praised the cancellation of the CNN advert, saying nothing good was going to come from it.