The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has strongly condemned attacks directed at the Royal Media Services-owned station Citizen TV by Deputy President William Ruto’s allies.
The council was reacting to a social media post made by Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, who described Citizen TV as ‘Githeri Media’ and ‘Gutter Press’, asking his supporters to boycott the media house.
In a statement issued on Monday, 6th September, CEO David Omwoyo termed the attacks on the station by the politician as an affront to media freedom.
“The contents of the post by the politician are an affront to media freedom and a clear sign of intimidation by politicians to the media house and journalism at large. Whereas the politician has the right to disagree with the editorial policies of any media house, it is unacceptable to incite the public against any media house,” the media council stated.
“Accordingly, politicians cannot on their own accord term the media as unprofessional. Such action amounts to taking the law into their own hands and proceeding to pronounce judgment on an issue they are not made to prosecute.”
Omwoyo said that any politician who attacks the media is a threat to press freedom and the Media Council of Kenya will oppose their clearance for participation in the next elections.
Further, in the event where politicians, leaders, and members of the public are aggrieved by the ethical standards by journalists and media houses, they are advised to file a complaint with the Media Complaints Commission. This because it is legally mandated to handle such matters under Section 27 of the Media Council Act, 2013 and issue remedies as it deems appropriate.
The council has called on DP Ruto’s allies to react to their statement and make an apology to Citizen TV.
“Referring to media as ‘Githeri Media or ‘Gutter Press’ without empirical evidence is a total violation of media practice and standards and we demand for retraction of the statement and an apology issued.”