Ruto Withdraws From Presidential Debate Over Citizen TV's Conduct

  • Deputy President William Ruto and Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua in Mathira, Nyeri County on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
    Deputy President William Ruto and Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua in Mathira, Nyeri County on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
    DPPS
  • The Director of Communications in Deputy President William Ruto's Campaign, Hussein Mohammed, has announced that the DP will boycott the presidential debate unless the leading media stations reform their coverage of the election.

    In a statement dated Thursday, June 2, Mohammed named Citizen TV, Inooro TV, Inooro FM and The Daily Nation as among the most notorious media houses in biased reporting against Ruto.

    He added that the stations had breached the statutory terms of their licences as well as constitutional freedoms through the unequal allocation of coverage, and negative framing of the UDA presidential candidate and his associates.

    DP William Ruto at the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya National Convention, at Nairobi Baptist Church, on Wednesday, May 11, 2022.
    DP William Ruto at the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya National Convention, at Nairobi Baptist Church, on Wednesday, May 11, 2022.
    DPPS

    "We wish to highlight the notorious instance of runaway abuse of public bandwidth by Royal Media Services a licensee which has converted its platforms, especially Citizen TV, Inooro TV and Inooro Radio to official campaign mouthpieces of the Azimio La Umoja. The Daily Nation complements these abuses by becoming their print counterpart.

    "Under the current partisan media environment, we have advised our candidate against participating in the presidential debate," the statement read in part.

    The former journalist noted that while the actions of the media outlets may be inconsequential to the supporters, it was a matter of professional decency Kenya Kwanza expected them to uphold.

    Mohammed's statement comes barely weeks after Kapseret Member of Parliament, Oscar Sudi, hit out at Citizen TV for allegedly pushing Raila Odinga's agenda. In the snide attack, Sudi demanded that the outlet stop covering the deputy president.

    The bad blood between Ruto's allies and a section of the media attracted the attention of the Media Council of Kenya which defended the editorial independence of journalists and media houses.

    MCK explained that all media practitioners were guided and regulated by the Code of Conduct. The council's CEO, David Omwoyo, further cautioned political leaders against attacking media houses noting that such actions amount to incitement.

    "We advise politicians and the public that Kenya's media and journalists are guided by a professional code of conduct, with sufficient mechanisms for self-regulation, both as an industry or at a personal level," MCK stated.

    "The Council is disturbed that such threats are likely to incite the public and political supporters against the media and may thus expose journalists and media practitioners to violations of their rights as they go about their rightful duties."

    On March 2, media owners, the Editors Guild and MCK announced that the presidential debates will take place beginning July 2022.
     

    A File Image of Citizen TV Studios
    A File Image of Citizen TV Studios
    Citizen Digital
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