Govt gags Team Kenya from speaking to foreign journalists in Rio
The government has banned Kenyan athletes participating in the Olympics in Rio, Brazil from speaking to foreign journalists in a damage control move aimed at curbing “malicious leaks targeting Team Kenya”.
The gag, which was communicated to the athletes by Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, was announced by the Ministry of Sports though its official Twitter handle (@moscakenya).
“@AreroWario has cut communication btwn the athletes & foreign media in a bid to curb malicious leaks targeting Kenya,” tweeted the ministry.
The Star newspaper also quoted the minister saying: “ We have decided that communication will be handled by three people-myself, the Permanent Secretary Richard Ekai and the chef de mission Stephen Arap Soi. No athlete will be allowed to give information without the authority of the officials.”
The gag order comes after the manager of the Kenyan Olympic athletics team Michael Rotich was recalled from the Rio Games after an investigation alleged he demanded money to give warnings about doping tests.
Mr Rotich was filmed by journalists from UK’s Sunday Times newspaper and German television channel ARD demanding 10,000 pounds (Sh1.3 million) for agreeing to warn a British coach about imminent doping tests.
Mr Wario has said that Kenya would investigate the “frivolous” reports, accusing the media houses of engaging in “wholesale defamation” of a nation’s legacy.
“We take exception to the frivolous leveling of unsubstantiated allegations against our athletes or sports teams,” Wario said on Monday.