The Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) and the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) have condemned Azimio leader Raila odinga’s attack on the media -- especially targeted at a local newspaper.
KEG President Churchill Otieno says the statement by Mr Odinga undermines democratic principles and threatens an already overly vulnerable media ecosystem.
”No further detail or evidence is provided of the newspaper's supposed offence. KEG sees the statement by Mr Odinga as an attack on the news media and a direct affront to media freedom, an act that would have the effect of exposing journalists to harm and in the process subvert democracy," Mr Otieno stated.
"We wish to remind Mr Odinga that as an influential leader with a huge following in our country, his utterances are taken seriously and where they potentially affect the safety and security of journalists then they become most unhelpful,” he added.
“Our laws have defined clear channels available to those aggrieved of media excesses where they exist, and we call upon all leaders to use them. The Media Complaints Commission has competently handled previous cases against the media, including from the highest office in the land.”
The MCK said it takes such statements against a media house as part of efforts to manipulate public opinion and limit freedom of the press, which are both fundamental components of a healthy democracy.
“ Such attacks undermine the freedom of the press and are attempts to undermine the role of the press in freely informing the electorates based on editorial judgments. Freedom of the press is an essential right that allows journalists to report on events, issues, and people without fear of censorship or repression," said MCK CEO David Omwoyo.
" When political leaders ask people to boycott a national newspaper, they are essentially trying to undermine this freedom and control the narrative in their favour."