Through a statement issued Monday, September 6, the media regulator termed the attacks by a section of leaders allied to Ruto as intimidation to journalism at large.
“The contents of the post by the politician are an affront to media freedom and a clear sign 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 regulator stated.
They specifically pointed out a post made by Kimilili Member of Parliament, Didmus Barasa, calling for the boycott of Citizen TV, describing the move as taking the law into their own hands.
“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 judgement on an issue they are not made to prosecute,” the Media Council stated.
The media regulator has argued that the move to call on their supporters to boycott the station amounts to infringing on the freedom of the press and even the freedom of expression.
“While the Council recognises the right of any individual to demand for upholding of ethical standards in journalism, it expects that the same shall be demanded of the politicians and leaders for violating freedom of expression, press freedom and access information as provided for in the Constitution in articles 33, 34, 35 and the Media Council Act, 2013.”
MCK, however, advised the legislators aggrieved with any media house to file complaints with the Media Complaints Commission that is legally mandated to prosecute them.
“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 which is legally mandated to handle such matters under Section 27 of the Media Council Act, 2013 and issue remedies as it deems appropriate,” remarked MCK.
Media Council has further called on Ruto allies to retract their statements and apologies 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.”