Journalists based in Kitui County have staged a peaceful demonstration protesting alleged threats and intimidation by former Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Chairman Eric Mutua.
The journalists who marched in Kitui Town streets on Monday holding placards claimed that Mr Mutua, a prominent Nairobi lawyer who is now eyeing the Mwingi Central parliamentary seat, had resorted to using court threats to scare them off in a bid to escape public scrutiny.
The former LSK boss has sued some of the journalists after they reported a recent demonstration against him in Mwingi Town.
In a petition to the Media Council of Kenya, the journalists drawn from local radio stations, print and TV stations urged the regulatory body to intervene and caution Mr Mutua against the disguised attempts to muzzle the press using courts.
“The court cases against our colleagues are a clear design to gag the press.
“We reject such blatant intimidation which goes against the principles of press freedom” said Mr Charles Muasya of People Daily after presenting the petition to the county commissioner.
Another journalist, Abel Mutuku, of Ebru TV, wondered why Mr Mutua is preventing the press from giving his aggrieved clients a voice if indeed he has nothing to hide and yet he is aspiring to lead them as MP.
The petition was copied to LSK, Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
Contacted for comment, Mr Mutua said he had sued the journalists to protect his integrity and that the courts should be allowed to determine if his reputation had been injured.
“It is every Kenyan's right to hold peaceful protest but I’ll still pursue in court the legitimate complaints I have against K24 TV, Ebru TV and other radio stations” Mr Mutua told the Nation by phone.
Media Council of Kenya Deputy Chief Executive Officer Victor Bwire acknowledged receipt of the petition and promised the issues raised will be investigated.