Following the interview with Ms. Mutale Mwanza on Studio Ken and the subsequent feedback, we are compelled to address some misconceptions and messages being advanced.
Find here a summary of events in the run up to the production.
1. Ms Mwanza (who I was meeting for the first time on the day of the interview) willingly responded to the request to feature on the program. She AGREED VOLUNTARILY and I have evidence to this effect. The objective of the interview was to offer her a platform to clarify some perceptions people have against her persona. She was afforded sufficient latitude to share her story.
And against my journalistic ethics, almost all the questions that Ms Mwanza was asked were sent to her a day prior to the interview. Allegations of “prostitution” and her enduring accusations of being a “gold digger” were presented to her in clear terms and as if there was any offence, she was at liberty to indicate so. All this was done to afford her an opportunity to prepare adequately and if she so wished, withdraw from the interview altogether. She is the only guest since Studio Ken’s inception to have enjoyed this privilege.
2. Shortly before the interview commenced, Ms Mwanza was again reminded of the questions and she had no objections. When the interview started and was getting heated, I asked for the cameras to be switched off though the sound equipment was left running. While people and Ms Mwanza now say she was attacked in the interview in her own house, during that interval, Ms Mwanza burst into laughter saying some of the things she was saying on camera were a joke hence the interview proceeding thereafter.
3. Part of the verbal arrangement with Ms Mwanza and Studio Ken was that she previews both the promo and the interview before they were released to the public though there was a proviso that she was not to control or dictate the content. However, when the promo was edited, she demanded that it should not be shared to the public because she didn’t like the way she looked. We allowed her to edit the promo to enhance picture quality and it’s her version which was eventually released to the public.
4. Further, when the interview was being edited, she called and made two more demands requiring certain parts be removed from the final edit completely. Again, her wish was granted. When she was asked what else she wanted removed, she indicated nothing more.
5. As a result of the above subsequent demands which were fully met (against the original arrangement and journalistic ethics), Studio Ken did not want to lose further control of the content. Therefore, the edited interview was shared with the public without her previewing. Suffice to state that efforts were still made to explain this position but she was unreachable.
It has now occurred to me that while I engaged Ms Mwanza on a purely journalistic interview, her suggestion to me for her own ratings and controversy which I objected to seems unfortunately to be the driver in this post production occurrence.
In conclusion, it is NOT and will never be Studio Ken’s policy to treat interviewees different based on their gender as the narrative seems to be developing. Different people are asked different questions depending on what’s topical about them in order for them to offer clarity and share their story.
It must be noted that any topic discussed in an interview is unique to the guest and would not produce the same theme, format, response or conclusion irrespective of how the subjects maybe related.
Attached is an audio excerpt of the conversation during the time cameras were off as part of setting the record straight.
I thank you all.