Nation Media Managing Editor Linus Kaikai on Monday revealed that President Uhuru Kenyatta threatened to shut down all media houses that cover National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga's planned inauguration on Tuesday.
In the statement seen by Kenyans.co.ke, Linus 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, who is also the Chairman of the Kenya Editors’ Guild Chairman disclosed that a section of media managers and editors from media houses were on Friday summoned to a meeting at State House.
"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.
[caption caption="File image of Kenya Editors' Guild press conference"][/caption]
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.
The Chairman of the Media Owners Association, Hannington Gaya on Monday evening confirmed the tone of the meeting as a ‘dressing down’ in which the media was; ‘read the riot act.’
Linus further stated that the media were not politically inclined in their reporting and would not allow the contest 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.
[caption caption="File image of Linus Kaikai and President Uhuru Kenyatta"][/caption]
He called on the government to provide security to journalists who cover the Tuesday events and in future functions as well.
"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guaranteed in Article 34 of the Constitution and the right of the public to information (Article 35) and desist from outdated methods of repression and to also respect the Bill of Rights," he concluded.
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