ICT CS Mucheru criticises Nasa over anti-media remarks

Monday August 14 2017

Information Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru  has said that journalists should not be intimidated.

Information Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru speaks during the launch of the Integrated Devolution Data Portal at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on July 12, 2017. He has said that journalists should not be intimidated when carrying out their work. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAMWEL OWINO
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The Nation Media Group came under attack from opposition leaders who accused it of bias.

Siaya Senator James Orengo said the Daily Nation and NTV were deliberately ignoring the truth from the opposition side.

During a rally at Kamukunji Grounds in Kibra Constituency, Nairobi County, Mr Orengo asked the public not to watch NTV or buy the Daily Nation newspaper.

“From today, you should not buy the Nation newspaper. Do not watch NTV because it is not reporting the truth,” Mr Orengo told the crowd.

“Only the international media are doing so. No buying Nation newspaper or tuning to NTV until they start telling the truth.”

KILLINGS

It is only NTV that streamed Mr Orengo’s remarks live. The senator spoke in the presence of National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga and other lawmakers.

He urged the foreign press to  “focus fully on the killings of innocent protesters ignored by the local media”.

“Foreign press have to know that Kenya is the only country that people are killed after elections,” Mr Orengo said.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru  termed the remarks unfortunate, uncalled for and irresponsible, saying not even in the darkest days of Kenya’s political history had a leader initiated such an assault on press freedom. 

OPINIONS

“To single out particular newspapers and TV stations for attack simply because of their opinions is not only unconstitutional but it is an assault on the very foundation upon which Kenya’s democracy is founded,” the minister said in a statement.

However, the CS seemed to have got his facts wrong because the offending remarks on the media were made by the Siaya senator when he accompanied Mr Odinga to condole with protesters beaten by police following the announcement of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the poll.

Mr Mucheru said the media deserved to be commended “for remarkable coverage of the elections and demonstrating responsibility, restraint and professionalism in their work”.

“I therefore condemn the reckless, inciting and thoughtless attack on the country’s free press by Nasa leaders,” he said.

MISTRUST

The utterances by Mr Orengo may lead to increased public mistrust of the mainstream media.

They came just a day after journalists covering protests by Nasa supporters in Kibra Constituency were harassed by General Service Unit and Administration Police officers.

They accused the journalists of bias and only highlighting the negative side of the force.

“You are here to cause problems to us. What, indeed, is your role in bringing peace or is your work just to expose us? Leave this area now,” one of the officers shouted.