23 January 2013

Kenya: State Furious Over Foreign Media Report

Photo: Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
Internally Displaced Persons (file photo): The government has been taken to task by the Human Rights Group for alleged favouritism of certain communities.

THE foreign media should seek clarification before publishing reports, the government has said.

Addressing the press in his office, government spokesman Muthui Kariuki criticised the Human Rights Watch Organisation report 'Kenya:Discrimination Against Rift Valley Displaced' which he said has been widely published by foreign journalists in the country.

The report accused the state of favouring a certain community during the resettlement of internally displaced people in the Rift Valley. "The report did not have the interest of the nation at heart. We have not favoured any IDPs because we share national resources equally," said Kariuki.

"We are questioning the agenda of this report because it appears that it was timed to appear after the nominations when the country is gearing towards the polls."

He said the report sent out for publication internationally is suspect as it is a replica of the 2007 polls. Kariuki added that in the 2007 elections, foreign media published alarming reports which sparked the violence.

Some 1,333 people died while another 650,000 were displaced by the 2007-08 post-election violence. He said in 2007, people masquerading as election monitors and opinion pollsters were "agents of doom who descended on the country causing Kenyans to view each other as enemies".

The government is in no doubt that the reports they sent to their media houses both locally and abroad contributed to the mayhem that was witnessed in the country at the time," said Kariuki.

"We will arrest anybody who publishes something injurious without verifying the reports with the government," he told the press at his office in Nairobi.

He asked the media, including foreign journalists, to regulate themselves. A week ago, Information PS Bitange Ndemo who was accompanied by Kariuki put on notice local media houses which give hatemongers a platform.

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