The Media Council of Kenya (MC) is advocating judicial restraint in the issuance of pre-emptive gagging orders against the media terming the current situation ‘a worrying trend’.
In a Press Briefing on Friday held in Kisumu to address threats to Press Freedom, Mr. David Omwoyo the Chief Executive MCK noted that the courts are the ultimate protectors of the constitution and if the same courts start issuing preemptive gag orders against the media on matters which the law expressly provides for compensation for aggrieved parties, then the courts become a threat to press freedom and the constitution of Kenya.
“In effect, this means that the Judiciary is allowing itself to be used as the altar upon which press freedom will be sacrificed and with the public right to know,” Said Omwoyo adding that “These developments coupled with the increasingly physical attacks on journalists in the course of their duties make for a very worrying situation for press freedom.”
Mr. Omwoyo added that as a regulator they are doing all they can to ensure that journalists undertake their duties to the highest professional standards and rid the profession of all quacks and masqueraders.
“That is why we are introducing new accreditation guidelines which will ensure that only professionals are allowed to practice journalism.”
MCK issued the statement in the wake of reports that Kenya’s Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has threatened to sue the Standard newspaper, for allegedly reporting that the ministry had neglected the National Netball team in South Africa.
On the other hand, the Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA) has threatened to sue Nation journalist John Kamau for his series on the wrongs in the tea industry.
KTDA has threatened to sue me personally for my series on the wrongs in the tea industry. They can go ahead …
— John Kamau (@johnKamau1) October 11, 2019
READ: When journalists cross the line separating facts from opinion