During the Medieval times, there were classes of political spheres that were segregated in Europe. England used to have the nobility, the clergy, and the common people. The fourth estate came by where groups which were unofficial in nature needed to be distinguished from the rest since they also wielded some power such as the mob and public press.
Edmund Burke. Thomas Carlyle, writing in Heroes and Hero-Worship in History :" , Lord Brougham in 1823, and English essayist William Hazlitt are the pioneers that were attributed to this term of ‘the fourt estate’
The fourth estate was also referred to the battery of lawyers who delivered services and bribed their ways out of justice for the rich to circumvent the rule of law for the rich. In this new era and generation, since the 19th Century, all types of media combined have now adopted the _FOURTH ESTATE _ name as their references. as the fourth power, the press or rather the journalism profession is has indirect power that should be independent from bias and external influence.
As opposed to the free will of the society, the fourth estate has turned out to be a political tool to oppress the society or to gain political favors as the freedom the press has been thrown into the gutters of dictatorships. it will thus be ironical to call the press or media as the fourth Estate especially here in Kenya where a few weeks ago, the powers of impunity tore it apart using state resources and total disregard to the freedom of the media.
Recently in Kenya, the true media gag fiasco was seen when the current regime shut down almost 10 tv stations and radio because of a mock swearing in ceremony of the opposition leader Raila Odinga as the people’s precident(yes the oath was so fake that you could see that it was administered by lawyers that is commissioners of oath and he was not sworn as the president of the republic of kenya.
One Could wonder if the Government was in a panic mood or if it was for the safety and future protection of any violence that could have been instigated by the event. Many people remained in the darkness but thanks to social media and the internet some could live stream the event while others could be sent videos from the ground. It is quiet empirical to note that were it not fr the many businesses that an internet shutdown could do to the economy, it is very true that the Government could have catigated the same.
The Rule of law is quite clear and national interest and the public interest should not be somehow navigated in order to oppress the protection the law has input for the fourth estate.
When Trump called the USA edia as ‘fake news’ etc, that seemed to be a political tackle but it also applies here in Kenya where the media is complaining of being oppressed while it is also the source of fake news forgetting that the sword is double edged ad the doctrine of equity in regards to clean hands. There have been sympathisers of the media being gagged while others have also alluded the state for the same since its the same media that propagates irrelevant and biased news when it comes to the oppression of people.
Some months ago the media focused on a man who had queued in a voting line in Nairobi, kenya during the general elections and the fuss was that he was eating a maize and bean mixture known to the locals as ‘githeri’. However absurd it may seem, some critics applauded the media that it brought the kenyan people together which was kind of true as the craze was in most social media platforms. The media here went against professionalism in my opinion as there were a lot of human rights atrocities that occurred during the general election that the media seemed not to bother.
The arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws goes against the spirit of constitutionalism as the government does so with utter disregard forgettin that Law is supreme and is above every individual as the Magna Carta became its holy grail. The media however irrelevant, biased or fake deserves to be independent and proected by the law.