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Thursday, February 2, 2023

350Africa flays Kenyan TV network over pro-Lamu documentary

The Kenyan TV network, NTV, airing of a 26-minute documentary on the Lamu coal plant project and its supposed benefits for the country has been condemned by 350Africa.

Lamu coal plant
Residents protest against plans to build the Lamu coal plant

“This brazen bid at showing support for #CoalingLamu has been met with contempt by many Kenyans. What was meant to be an impartial line of reporting by the channel was marred by a clear bias for clean coal and technology as long-term solutions, that would help Kenya achieve economic growth and industrialisation,” said the civil society organisation in a statement.

Referring to Karabiga coal plant located in Western Turkey, NTV’s programme allegedly presented clean coal as a modern technology with very low emissions and hence not harmful for the people, the environment and ecosystems.

“While those opposing the coal plant were given a handful of minutes, sandwiched between staunch proponents of the project, most of the programme focused on running through the talking points of the coal industry, which is struggling to sell to the public a project that has been rejected by Lamu residents,” the group added.

Regional Team Leader for 350Africa.org, Landry Ninteretse, says, “You can’t clean coal. Period. Only halting its production altogether will immediately save lives, threatened by pollution and by the increasingly negative impacts of climate change, to which coal plants contribute.

“On September 24, the High Court in Nairobi restored previous orders to halt the Lamu coal project, a further indication of its shortcomings and potential risks. No matter how much money the coal industry throws at the issue, either in an attempt to mitigate coal’s contribution to health problems or to have us believe that coal can be “clean”, people and environment will be affected.”

Omar Elmawi, Coordinator of deCOALonize.org campaign, said: “How can we boast about freedom of the media to report on the truth, when national media outlets are deliberately covering the Lamu coal plant, focusing mainly on the project proponents yet not include the community and other renowned experts on the other side of the story? The science is clear: the Lamu coal plant poses a real threat to the people of Lamu and Kenyans at large and the only people to benefit from the deal are those who will make the most from it.”

“What happens in Turkey is not about us. We as the youth of Lamu don’t need clean coal but solar energy since we have an abundance of sunshine daily,” added Leila Yusuf, a youth leader from Lamu who has been actively mobilising against the coal project.

Over a month ago anti-coal campaigners protested at a side event of the Global Climate Action Summit to voice their concerns about the planned Lamu Coal fired power station. This is part of a growing movement to advocate for a world free of fossil fuels and powered by renewable energy.

The proposed Lamu Coal Power Station is a potential 1,050 MW coal-fired thermal power station in Kenya. The proposed plant would be developed on 865 acres of land and feature a 210-meter-tall smoke stack, which would become East Africa’s tallest structure.

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