The Editors’ Guild has raised concerns over Government’s threat to shut down media houses that will air the National Super Alliance (NASA) swearing-in event planned for Tuesday.
According to the Editors’ Guild Chairman Linus Kaikai, President Uhuru Kenyatta threatened to revoke licences of media houses that will air Raila’s inauguration.
Mr Kaikai, in the statement on Monday stated that he was alarmed over a developing trend by the Government to gag or threaten the media over coverage of the current political events in the country.
Linus divulged that a section of media managers and editors from media houses were on Friday summoned to a meeting at State House for unknown reasons.
“At the meeting, President Kenyatta expressly threatened to shut down and revoke the licenses of any media house that would broadcast live the planned purported swearing in of NASA leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka on Tuesday. That direct threat has subsequently been echoed, off record by other senior members of the Government,” the statement read in part.
Also in attendance in the brief meeting was Deputy President William Ruto, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i , ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and Attorney General (AG) Githu Muigai.
He added that the meeting was held under an atmosphere of intimidation for the media representatives present to prevent them from performing their rightful role of informing the public on matters affecting them.
Linus further stated that the media was not politically inclined in its reporting and would not allow supremacy battles between NASA and Jubilee influence their work.
“The Media remains a mere messenger and a chronicler of any events happening in our country. Our country’s vibrant media is made up of competent professionals in journalists and editors that continue to make sound decisions on what constitutes news, in public interest,” the statement further read.
The guild also called on the Government to provide security to journalists who will cover the Tuesday controversial event.
“We would like to remind the Government to respect the freedom of the media guaranteed in Article 34 of the Constitution and the right of the public to information (Article 35) and desist from outdated methods of repression and to also respect the Bill of Rights,” he concluded.
NASA has, however, vowed to proceed with the event at Uhuru Park grounds despite stern warnings from Government and the Nairobi Police Commander, Japheth Koome.