Kenya: Nation Media Group Condemns Police Attack on Journalists at JKIA

(file photo)

The Nation Media Group has condemned police attack on journalists on Monday night at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the scene of drama over the past two days as lawyer Miguna Miguna was denied entry into Kenya.

Clifford Machoka, Head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at the media company, said the firm would address the Ministry of Interior and the Inspector-General of Police on the injuries inflicted on NTV cameraman Robert Gichira and the destruction of his camera by police officers.


"This level of violence against Kenyan workers going about their job is shocking not just to the Nation and Kenyans, but the civilised world as a whole.

"It constitutes a crime by the State against citizens, and is an egregious breach of Chapter Four of the Constitution - the Bill of Rights, particularly the freedom of the press," said Mr Machoka in a statement.

He added: "The brutalising of Kenyans by the government - which is becoming an almost daily occurrence - is not a confirmation of the Government's democratic credentials, quite to the contrary."

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At the same time, the Committee to Protect Journalists called on the authorities in Kenya to investigate the assault.

"Authorities in Kenya cannot resolve their political disputes by beating up journalists," said CPJ Africa Programme Coordinator Angela Quintal from New York. "Kenyan authorities must urgently investigate this attack and put an end to any assaults on the press by security personnel, including police forces."

CPJ, which watches out for the security of journalists across the world, sought answers from the Kenyan authorities.


Police spokesperson Charles Owino declined to provide comment to CPJ, and Inspector-General Joseph Boinnet of Kenya's National Police Service did not respond to two phone calls and a text message seeking comment on Tuesday evening.

Ministry of Interior spokesperson Mwenda Njoka told CPJ that the journalists had been in a restricted area of the airport.

On Facebook, State House Director of Digital Dennis Itumbi appeared to praise the police for the attack, saying the police had "done well."

CPJ said that when they talked to him later, Mr Itumbi said that he "did not have the complete story" about whether journalists were "beaten" at the airport and directed anyone hurt during the incident to file a formal complaint.


Mr Gichira and Mr Stephen Letoo of Citizen TV were attacked as they covered the drama at the airport, where Mr Miguna was still being held after he refused to apply for a visa and to apply for citizenship to be allowed back in the country of his birth.

The self-declared general of the National Resistance Movement is understood to have travelled on a Canadian passport but wanted his Kenyan passport handed back to him at the airport. In February, he was deported in yet another dramatic episode.

The High Court on Tuesday evening ordered his release but authorities refused to receive the court order, forcing his lawyers led by Siaya Senator James Orengo to stick them to the wall of the Immigration Department's offices at the airport.

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