On Friday 25th March, several Kenyan bloggers held a meeting in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, under the newly formed BAKE ( Bloggers Association KEnya). The meeting was the 4th in an initiative by some of Kenyas veteran bloggers.
There have been numerous complaints, accusations and in some instances, outright battle of words simmering between the blogger community and the mainstream media with cases of plagiarism, copyright infringement and a general lack of appreciation by the mainstream media on the impact that blogging has had in generation and delivery of news and information content in Kenya. This standoff has been aptly covered in a recent blogpost by Jacque Ndinda titled, WriteThinking: Plagiarism-masters of copy paste.
Her main bone of contention is in how the mainstream media owners are downplaying this as the culprits when exposed through numerous emails to the editor do not receive any disciplinary action. More often than note, a simple “we are sorry”, is offered to the blogger with no discussion on compensation or acknowledgment.
This, among other issues, as well as opportunities for bloggers were some of the items in the agenda at the Friday meeting.
The turnout was quite impressive with more than 20 bloggers in attendance. Most were attending for the first time as the original members had been caught up in other matters.
A blog post by Kachwanya, one of Kenya’s most prolific bloggers, laid out the full agenda as well as the aim and objectives of the association.
Our aims will be primarily
1.Create and promote high quality online local contents and innovations
2.Create viable online Marketing channel for the Kenyan companies
3. Have fun online
One of the things that received a lot of emphasis was the need to build a community where bloggers supported each other and worked closer together to achieve a common objective which is to provide relevant and useful local content online.
During the discussion on revenue generation which most bloggers didn’t view as an incentive to their blogging quest, most admitted that despite signing up with international online advertising companies, there was very little to show for it with most eventually withdrawing from the service. Thus the association will among other things, come up with a more realistic and relevant ad platform that will involve local advertisers.
This, it was noted, would be more effective and would earn bloggers that extra penny which though not sought desperately, would afford bloggers some stipend.
Wanjiku, one of Kenya’s veteran bloggers, announced that she had registered the domains www.bake.co.ke and www.bake.com for use by the BAKE community.
Some of the activities that BAKE is organizing are:-
• Bloggers expo after every three months.
• Bloggers meet up or happy hour every month.
• Blog competition on topical topics with huge rewards at the end for the winners
• Blog Awards at the end of the year
Bloggers in attendance were informed that Collins Mbalo who runs the blog ‘A Nairobian’s Perspective’ and a fellow Global Voices author, would offer his advice on legal matters like plagiarism and copyright infringement among others.
Many agreed that this is a great initiative and that it was about time that Kenyans bloggers started speaking in one voice.
We thus look forward to see a lot of good things coming forth in the days to come. There was already some rumors that a large corporation is in negotiations with BAKE for the sponsorship of the first Bloggers Expo. Let us hope that this will spur growth in not just blogging but also in the relevance of the content.