The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) wants the government to take action against Education George Magoha’s bodyguard who is accused of sexually harassing and threatening two journalists in Kisumu on Thursday.
MCK Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Omwoyo said the matter was embarrassing and saddening.
He asked the authorities to probe the matter and take legal action against the bodyguard.
He further called on officers in charge of VIP security to respect journalists and accord them respect and freedom to do their work.
“We urge the VIP security detail to respect Journalists as they are just doing their job by asking questions; they are not attacking the VIPs you are guarding. These journalists are not armed,” said Mr Omwoyo.
The MCK boss was speaking on Friday in Lodwar during the training of county communication officers and journalists which had been organized by the council.
The incident is said to have occurred on Thursday when Prof Magoha was inspecting desks at Kosawo Primary School and one journalist bumped into the bodyguard while struggling to take pictures of the CS with the pupils.
“Nation Media Group Photographer Ondari Ogega accidentally bumped into the said officer whose identity is not known and even apologised. However, as he made his way out of the classroom, the CS’s bodyguard followed him and reached for his fly before squeezing his genitals and threatening to do more outside the classroom,” said Kisumu Journalists Network (KJN) chairman Rushdie Oudia.
The bodyguard is also said to have grabbed Viola Kosoma’s backside and pushed her to give way for the CS.
The same officer, whose face was captured by some of the journalists, is said to have harassed another journalist in Vihiga by inserting his fingers into the reporter’s mouth.
“The incidents have not only instilled fear among the journalists but also amounts to sexual assault and suppression of the freedom of the press as enshrined in Articles 33 and 34 of the Kenyan Constitution,” added Mr Oudia.
The incident comes days after MCK released a report that found that 62 percent of journalists have either experienced sexual harassment or know someone who has, either while working at their organisations or in the field.
The study titled Press Freedom Violations during Covid-19 further revealed that 73 percent of female journalists were highly likely to experience sexual harassment while on assignments.