Justin Muturi praises reporters for exposing rot in House

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi. He has said journalists should be honoured if they do an excellent job. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • On Thursday, the Kenya Editors' Guild slammed the National Assembly for summoning the reporters.
  • The Media Council of Kenya asked Mr Muturi to forward the matter to its Complaints Council for adjudication.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has said the two People Daily reporters who uncovered bribery in the House are brave and should be celebrated.

Speaking at the 7th Annual Journalism Excellence Awards on Friday, Mr Muturi said the power to summon individuals should be used sparingly and only when necessary.

"Matters reported touch on ethical behaviour...as the Powers and Privileges Committee, we are interested with getting information with dealing errant members of Parliament not reporters," he said.

He also pointed out that corruption has led to loss of credibility in both MPs and journalists.

"It's unfortunate many members of Parliament have assumed that they have become judges."

BRIBES

Mr Muturi spoke three days after he directed the Powers and Privileges committee to summon the journalists to shed more light on the story that depicted Parliament as "dens of leeches and grounds infested by shoals of piranhas driven by lust for self-gain".

The story was titled House of bribes.

Parliamentary reporters Dinah Ondari and Anthony Mwangi claimed that MPs they interviewed revealed that various individuals have spent more than Sh500 million to scuttle investigations into their dealings.

CENSORSHIP

On Thursday, the Kenya Editors' Guild slammed the National Assembly for summoning the reporters, saying that it was an attempt to censor the media.

"There is no exception in terms of who journalists can investigate, as long as they do their job within the confines of journalism ethics," Ms Nguku said during the Annual Media Summit 2018 at Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi.

A day earlier, the Media Council of Kenya also took issue with the summoning and asked Mr Muturi to first forward the matter to its Complaints Council for adjudication.

"Whereas the council appreciates the concerns raised by the speaker, the council is cognisant of the fact that parliamentarians and the media have a symbolic (sic) relationship, as such, it is incumbent upon them to build a strong professional relationship that is based on mutual respect and recognition that both are essential actors in a working democracy," Council CEO David Omwoyo wrote in the letter dated July 31.

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