1 November 2017

Kenya: Editors Guild, Media Council Condemn Assault on Journalists

Photo: Tonny Omondi/The Nation
Journalists react after they were teargassed by anti-riot police who did not want to be filmed during a demonstration in Kisumu on October 13, 2017 (file photo).

The Kenya Editors Guild and the Media Council, have condemned the attack on journalists covering Nasa event in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The guild chairman, Linus Kaikai, asked Nasa to identify and hand over to the police, the individuals who carried the attack, saying it was a criminal act in which the coalition must demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law.

Mr Kaikai, who also doubles up as managing director of NTV, issued a warning that the guild would advise all media houses not to deploy reporters to Nasa events, if action is not taken against the culprits.

GOONS

"The safety of our reporters is paramount and the Editors Guild will no longer subject them to the risks posed by mobs such as witnessed at the Wiper Party Headquarters today," Mr Kaikai said in a statement.

Citizen TV report Francis Gachuri and NTV's camera Jane Gatwiri were assaulted by goons who had invaded the event in which the future of the coalition after the repeat presidential election was being made

The goons attacked Citizen TV crew members to express their dissatisfaction over the manner the station relayed results from the 290 polling station in the repeat presidential election.

The goons protested that the station had relayed results they considered false and whose back deputy President William Ruto used to justify the 7.5 million President Kenyatta received during the exercise.

ACTION

Mr Kaikai argued that the attack on journalists is part of a growing culture of intolerance, political and ethnic profiling of journalists in the country.

"This culture must be brought to an end and journalists be allowed to perform their rightful duties wherever they must, including political events," he said.

The Kenya Union of Journalists also condemned the attack and demanded action from the coalition.

"These acts of violence against journalists are not acceptable and we demand action against the perpetrators. If such acts do not stop, we will advise journalists to stay away from such events."

On its part the Media Council of Kenya asked the Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to arrest the perpetrators and prosecute them.

"Today's attacks are a culmination of a series of regrettable events perpetuated by politicians, their supporters, security agencies and other agencies against the media since the electioneering period started. It is sad that what started as threats to boycott certain media houses and their products has now turned into full scale attacks and assault against members of the fourth estate," the council said.

JUBILEE

The statement was signed by CEO David Omwoyo.

The goons approached Mr Gachuri and forcefully ejected him from the event and they accused the station of having been part of scheme to rig the elections in favour of Jubilee.

In the process of filming Mr Gachuri's, the youths asked NTV's Gatuiri to stop the filming and slapped her in the process.

Journalists covering the event, including those from the foreign media, walked out of the event in protest at the humiliation of their colleagues.

Both Mr Raila Odinga and Mr Musalia Mudavadi described the event as regrettable saying the assault on press corps is not part of the attitude or relationships they have cultivated with the media.

"I want to apologise to the journalists who were molested by the rowdy youths and I want to confirm that I have called Mr Waruru and talked about it, so let the matter rest there," Mr Odinga said at a press conference at Okoa Kenya offices in Lavington yesterday.

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