The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has called on politicians to respect media practitioners during this election campaign period.
In a statement, MCK chief executive David Omwoyo expressed outrage over utterances from politicians that are likely to incite the public against journalists.
“The council is disturbed that such threats are likely to incite the public and political supporters against the media and may expose journalists and media practitioners to violations of their rights as they go about their rightful duties,” he said.
He also urged people with complaints against the media to formally file them so that they can be addressed.
“The council encourages Kenyans particularly those who are aggrieved by the conduct of the media to seek redress through the Media Complaints Commission which is established under the Media Council Act of 2013,” he added.
Verbal and physical attacks on journalists have been on the rise as Kenya heads to the August 9 polls.
Some 45 cases of press freedom violations have been recorded so far in this year’s election campaigns, the MCK says.
The most recent case involved Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, who castigated Citizen TV in a social media post.
In a separate incident, South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro also made verbal attacks against Citizen TV during the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) National Delegates Conference.
In both cases, the legislators claimed the media outlet was biased in how it covers the leading presidential contenders.
Two months ago, two journalists were attacked by goons while covering an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) event at the party’s headquarters.
They were singled out for stories published under their bylines on March 17.
Journalists and media practitioners are protected by articles 34 and 35 of the Constitution that provide for freedom of the media, MCK insisted.