Pressure piles on government over media harassment
Human rights groups and the Inter Religious Council of Kenya have condemned the recent affront on the mainstream media by government.
The activists, alongside the Kenya Union of Journalists, have also threatened to sue the government following the closure of three major TV stations namely NTV, KTN News and Citizen since Tuesday.
In a statement read to the media outside Nation Centre on Thursday, the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights and Amnesty International insisted there was no justification for the surrounding of Nation Media Group offices by police officers on Wednesday evening.
“It is credibly believed the Kenyan authorities were prepared to arrest the Editors Guild Chairperson and Managing Editor Nation Media Group Broadcast Division Linus Kaikai, Larry Madowo, who is the Technology Editor and Anchor, plus Ken Mijungu a senior news anchor following a press conference by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday. Journalism is not a crime,” the joint statement read in part.
“We call on the authorities to stop intimidating the mass media and unconditionally restore the right of Kenyan Citizens to a free press.”
KUJ secretary general Eric Oduor also assured the public that Kaikai, Madowo and Mijungu are ‘safe’.
“We will accompany them to wherever they will be taken. We are ready to be locked in with our cameras, pens and note books and fight injustice in whatever format.” said Oduor.
On Wednesday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Mataing’i issued a raft of sanctions following Tuesday’s swearing in of opposition leader Raila Odinga as the People’s President.
The tough speaking CS vowed to crack down on some ‘criminal elements’ who had in one way or another supported the illegal act by Odinga.
He also announced that three private television stations namely NTV, KTN and Citizen which have been forcefully shut down by government since Tuesday, will remain off air until investigations into subversion claims are concluded.