Uhuru's Threat to Shut Down Media Houses Causes Divisions Among Editors

  • A section of editors has clashed over the alleged threat to shut down media houses covering National Super Alliance (NASA) Raila Odinga's swearing-in scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

    Nation Media Group Managing Editor Linus Kaikai on Monday revealed that after summoning a few editors to State House, President Uhuru Kenyatta threatened to close and revoke the licences of any media house that would publicize the event live.

    In the statement seen by Kenyans.co.ke, Kaikai 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.

    Kaikai, who is the Chairman of the Kenya Editors’ Guild, stated: "Select editors from the main media houses were quietly summoned to a meeting at the State House, Nairobi, the objectives which were unknown. But the proceedings should be clear cause for alarm to the media and the public." 

    [caption caption="Linus Kaikai"][/caption]

    Nonetheless, Kenya Editors' Guild Vice-Chairman, Samuel Maina, sharply differed stating that he attended the meeting and Kaikai's sentiments were inaccurate.

    "What is being termed as a “dress down” is a misrepresentation of facts. We had a fruitful discussion and we all agreed that media freedom has to be accompanied by a high degree of responsibility," he stated.

    Maina, who was in attendance during the meeting, stated that there were no threats issued to media houses or any ultimatums given on how to broadcast matters of public interest and the current political situation in the country.

    "Let it be clear that there has been no meeting by the Kenya Editors Guild executive committee to agree and issue the statement alleged to have been sent out by Mr Kaikai. In this regard, as the Vice Chairman of the guild, I dissasociate myself with the statement," he stated.

    Kaikai noted that the brief was attended by President Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru and AG Githu Muigai.

    [caption caption="Kenya Editors Guild at a press conference"][/caption]

    Media Owners Association Chairman, Hannington Gaya, on Monday evening confirmed the tone of the meeting as a ‘dressing down’ in which the media was, quote; ‘read the riot act.’"