Petitioner 'agrees to withdraw case' challenging MCK board appointments

MCK CEO David Omwoyo during a 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

The parties involved in the case challenging the recruitment of board members to the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) have reached an agreement to end the impasse caused by months of legal wrangling.

This follows a fruitful meeting hosted by Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and Digital Economy (ICT) Eliud Owalo on Wednesday.

"During our discussions, we carefully reviewed the current situation and reached a consensus for the unconditional withdrawal of all court cases related to this matter. This decision is aimed at facilitating the smooth conclusion of the process of constituting a new board for the Media Council," CS Owalo said.

This follows a similar meeting the CS held last week with leaders of the Kenya Editors Guild over the impasse in constituting the new MCK board.

The meeting was attended by MCK CEO David Omwoyo, the ministry's legal team led by Chris Maina and legal adviser Dr Erick Kibet.

The CS added that the development will allow the board to settle down and restore sanity to the media industry which is currently facing several challenges.

"By taking this step, I am demonstrating leadership to resolve the impasse, restore normalcy and ensure a return to sanity and sobriety within the framework of the fundamental principle of self-regulation in the media industry."

Earlier this year, a case was filed in the Employment and Labour Relations Court challenging the shortlist of candidates for the board.

The petitioner alleged that there was a conflict of interest on the part of the panel responsible for the recruitment process.

The shortlisted candidates included Ms Roselyne Obala, who the petitioner claimed was an employee of the Nation Media Group, the Secretary General of the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ), Mr Eric Oduor, and Mr Churchil Otieno, who was also challenged in the petition.

The shortlisted candidates were listed as interested parties in the case.

The KUJ General Secretary described Wednesday's development as a victory for the media petition.

"I have seen this statement on the unblocking of the Media Council impasse. It's a good thing for the media industry and long overdue," said Oduor.

CS Owalo unveiled the 13-member recruitment panel in January, comprising representatives from media bodies, the private sector, government and academia.

The new MCK board will consist of a chairperson and eight members, including one nominated by the ICT CS.