Media Council: Punish policemen who attacked Nation journalist
The Media Council of Kenya has condemned the attack on Nation Media Group journalist by the policemen in plain clothes attached to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s wife, Dorcas Rigathi.
The incident happened on Thursday during a relief food distribution event she attended in Gatanga, Murang’a County.
Murang’a County Nation correspondent Mwangi Muiruri was assaulted by the guards, with one officer caught on tape slapping him in the face.
In a statement, which comes hours after the incident, MCK CEO David Omwoyo said that it is irresponsible for the officers to attack the journalists despite the visible tag around his neck indicating that he was a journalist.
“It is regrettable that despite clearly displaying his media badge, and following all instructions given by security officers, the journalist was physically assaulted and verbally abused yet he posed no danger to anyone,” Mr Omwoyo said.
He has urged the Independent Police Oversight Authority to identify, publicly name and take appropriate action against the officers involved to not only protect press freedom but also guard against impunity by those acting under the false guise of anonymity.
According to MCK boss, there is an emerging trend where policemen in plain clothes guarding senior government officials act with impunity and attack journalists in contravention of known laws and norms.
“This is shameful, regrettable and worrying.”
In a clip, it took an effort of the reporter’s colleague to save him from the three officers, after shouting begging them to leave him since he was with him.
Upon realising that they were being captured by the other Nation reporter, one of the officers grabbed the phone before deleting a video recording of the encounter in an attempt to conceal the evidence before returning the phone, but the footage was recovered.
The office of the DP’s wife has not responded to the attack on the journalist who was on his duty covering her event.