Raila changes tune, calls off boycott of Star newspaper

Raila protests

Raila Odinga addressing journalists at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Nairobi.

Photo credit: Evans Habil I Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga has called off the boycott of the Star newspaper and instead filed a complaint with MCK accusing the paper of bias in its coverage.

In a press statement on Thursday, Mr Odinga said the move followed consultations with stakeholders.

"We have agreed to call off our boycott of The Star newspaper. Instead, we have filed a complaint with the Media Council of Kenya over the paper's biases," the statement reads. 

Media Owners Association Chairman Stephen Gitagama condemned the boycott call on selected media by Mr Odinga.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Gitagama who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Nation Media Group urged the Azimio leadership to file complaints with the Media Council of Kenya's Complaints Commission.

"The Media Owners Association believes this is an attack on press freedom since not a single complaint has been lodged with the company or Media Owners Association," Mr Gitagama said.

The Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) and the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) also condemned Mr Odinga’s attack on the media -- especially targeted at a local newspaper.

KEG President Churchill Otieno said the statement by Mr Odinga undermined democratic principles and threatened an already overly vulnerable media ecosystem.

Radio Africa Group CEO Patrick Quarcoo issued a statement condemning the attack on the newspaper saying the Star (a product of Radio Africa Group) has remained neutral in its coverage of political events across the country and has received awards for its objectivity over the years.

"Raila knows, only too well, the importance of a free and independent press in promoting good governance and transparency in the management of public affairs, which he is fighting for," Mr Quarcoo said.