Eight independent columnists have on Tuesday announced their resignation from Nation Media Group (NMG)-owned newspaper Daily Nation.
The columnists quit over what they termed a worrying trend where the Executive arm of government has great influence over who works for and contributes to the Daily.
The columnists are Rasna Warah, Muthoni Wanyeki, Fr Gabriel Dolan, Maina Kiai, Gabrielle Lynch, George Kegoro, Nic Cheeseman and Kwamchetsi Makokha.
In a joint statement, they stated that the recent actions of NMG and the executive suggested a state capture of the media.
"Censoring individual columnists signals official intolerance for dissenting views, and suggests executive willingness to go to any length - even co-opting editors- to achieve its aims.
"It is also unacceptable that they should be deciding who can have a voice in publicly accessed spaces. A media organisation that tacitly supports such a position alienates itself from the public," the statement read in part.
[caption caption="Some of the columnists at a press conference on March 27, 2018"][/caption]
They cited various recent happenings at the company to justify their case.
Among them was the discontinuation of opposition strategist David Ndii's column without explanation and the NMG decision to let famed cartoonist Gado's contract lapse reportedly over his criticism of the Executive.
They also pointed at the company's move to release former NTV Managing Editor Linus Kaikai for giving a green light to air the swearing-in of NASA leader Raila Odinga as the People's President on January 30.
In a conversation with Kenyans.co.ke after the announcement was made, Kegoro stated that they felt they had to resign to make a clear statement on the alleged state capture of the media.
"We just felt we couldn't continue on this basis. People who have views considered to be against the establishment are being targeted.
"I think the media is in a difficult position right now. The media needs to fight back," he stated.
The statement from the columnists:
- full speech6 June 2020 - 4:13 pm
- Gradual6 June 2020 - 4:15 pm
- Not yet over6 June 2020 - 3:47 pm
- free to move6 June 2020 - 3:37 pm
- Anxious6 June 2020 - 2:40 pm
- smart leader6 June 2020 - 2:56 pm
- unfortunate6 June 2020 - 2:30 pm
- Soaring6 June 2020 - 3:28 pm
- honour6 June 2020 - 2:10 pm
- Insider6 June 2020 - 1:55 pm
- rip6 June 2020 - 1:00 pm
- taking action6 June 2020 - 12:27 pm