Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Call to punish paper over obscene photos

Director of information Ezekiel Mutua (left), Media council Chairman Levy Obonyo(center) and Kenya Film Commission chairman Peter Mutie (right) during a media briefing March 8,2011. They called on the complaints commission to take action against The Star newspaper. PHOTO/HEZRON NJOROGE

Director of information Ezekiel Mutua (left), Media council Chairman Levy Obonyo(center) and Kenya Film Commission chairman Peter Mutie (right) during a media briefing March 8,2011. They called on the complaints commission to take action against The Star newspaper. PHOTO/HEZRON NJOROGE 

By LUCAS BARAZA

A local newspaper should be punished for publishing obscene pictures.

The government and the Media Council of Kenya want The Star held responsible for the pictures in its Tuesday issue.

Director of communications Ezekiel Mutua, council chairman Levi Obonyo and member Peter Mutie said the council’s complaints commission should take action on the newspaper.

The paper carried a story and photos on alleged sex escapades at Muliro Gardens in Kakamega Town.

“Carrying this story in the newspaper offends common decency and family values that we want to believe in as a society,” the officials said in a statement.

Addressing journalists at Nairobi Safari Club, Dr Obonyo, Mr Mutua and Mr Mutie said the Media Council was inundated with calls from the public on Tuesday complaining about the publication.

“We note that this story upset the general public, with many terming it disgusting, morally misleading and published in bad taste. It obviously affects the work of the media and the public’s perception of the media,” Dr Obonyo, who read the statement, said.

The Star’s story, they said, contravened the Media Act, which states that publishing of abhorrent photos should only be to satisfy public interest.

They called on journalists to present news with integrity and decency “and respect the dignity and intelligence of the audience as well as the subjects of news.”

The officials said The Star also erred by publishing a website that contains pornographic pictures.

They also took issue with Classic FM for discussing Muliro Garden story during its morning talk show.

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