A couple of years ago, newspapers were cheap and easily accessible to most people. However, the internet made things easier for them to get access to news, and print services started to bleed for obvious reasons. At the same time, newspapers saw their prices hit the roofs, although they are still affordable to other people.
Back to the internet thing: you see, we can now read select parts of news on online platforms, and local media companies have been generous enough to let us access news, gossip, among other stories for free. They have not implemented paywalls or any other limiting feature.
However, nothing beats the freshness and satisfaction of reading a full-fledged newspaper, especially on your mobile device. Those copies are available online, but media houses distribute them to readers at a fee.
One student from Pwani University has been buying the e-copy of the Standard and selling it to his customers at a maximum of KES 20 shillings. The student’s creative side gig came into light a couple of days ago after a copy of his creation made way to the Standard’s official WhatsApp group.
Ripping off a pdf version of the digital newspaper is an easy exercise that anybody can do but is illegal doing so, but the student knew no legal barriers to the punishment that accompanies his illegal activities. The sale of those copies effectively implied he infringed the Standard’s copyrights.
At the moment, the suspect is awaiting a hearing in 2020 after posting a KES 200K bond.
None of this is entirely new because people have been doing the same thing for a while, albeit quietly and behind closed doors. It cannot take you a long time to pick an e-copy of Kenya’s newspapers if you know where to look. However, this is the first time a primary media house has gone out of its way to bring culprits to book.