14 March 2019

Kenya: Enough With Attacks on Journalists, Media Groups Tell Prophet Owuor, Pastor Ng'ang'a

Media practitioners have warned religious leaders against threatening and harassing journalists who pursue incriminating stories about them.

Speaking under the auspices of the Kenya Media Sector Working Group, the group Singled out "Prophet" David Owour of the Repentance and Holiness ministries and "pastor" James Ng'ang'a of the Neno Evangelism ministry. They accused the duo of mobilizing their followers to embark on smear campaigns online against journalists while warning them of dire consequences.

KMSWG said such behaviour was not only against fundamental human rights but also unacceptable and a breach of the law.

"Media as the Fourth Estate has a duty to hold other estates, including the clergy, to account for their actions. The work of religious leaders impacts the society and the media must interrogate them on behalf of the public, which the two institutions serve, without fear or favour. The Kenya Media Sector Working Group (KMSWG) has noted with concern a trend where religious leaders and formations with questionable credentials are now training their guns on the media, harassing journalists and curtailing free media in Kenya," read part of the statement.

GREAT EXCEPTION

"The KMSWG takes great exception to such behavior from the religious leaders and draws the attention of the National Police Service and the Director of Public Prosecution to the actions of these said religious leaders especially their issuance of threats direct threats to journalists as well as online bullying by their followers."

Prophet Owuor and Pastor James Ng'ang'a have made headlines lately following exposés in mainstream media that caused the public to raise eyebrows on how their ministries operate.

The 'mighty' prophet of God was accused by a family of brainwashing one of their kin and swindling millions from her estate in Nairobi.

Mr Ng'ang'a recently went on a verbal attack against Citizen TV director Linus Kaikai for suggesting that the government should enact strict rules to govern businessmen masquerading as pastors.

"We are shocked beyond comfort that Mr Ng'ang'a, a man of God, has issued unspecified threats to journalists for calling him out. We wish to tell Ng'ang'a and Mr Owuor that journalists too are believers in God and no intimidation will stop them from pointing out ungodly activities taking place in places of worship," said KMSWG.

The group added: "Journalism is not a crime, and shall continue to play a watchdog role on all institutions and their leadership to cushion Kenyans from exploitation and manipulation by religious leaders who seem to believe they operate above the law."

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