The Government Sunday condemned the attack on a section of the media by NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga during a public rally in Kibera, Nairobi.
Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru castigated remarks made by Opposition leaders calling on Kenyans to stay away from work and to boycott Nation Media Group products, specifically, The Daily Nation, Sunday Nation and NTV.
“The Government’s attention has been drawn to remarks made at a public rally in Kibra Constituency, Nairobi today (Sunday) and addressed by Hon Raila Odinga. The utterances are unfortunate, uncalled-for and irresponsible. Not even in the darkest days of Kenya’s political history has any leader initiated such a brazen assault on the freedom of the press,” said Mr Mucheru.
He added: “To single out particular newspapers and TV stations for attack simply because of their opinions is not only unconstitutional, but an assault on the very foundation upon which Kenya’s democracy is founded. The Kenyan media deserves to be commended for its generally remarkable coverage of the electioneering process and demonstrating responsibility, restraint and professionalism in its work.”
Mucheru said the utterances were “reckless, inciteful and thoughtless” attack on the country’s free press by the NASA leaders.
“All media organisations in Kenya, their staff and establishments are protected by law from any criminal acts and no amount of intimidation should discourage them from doing their work. We will protect their right to exercise their freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution,” said the CS.
On the issue of people boycotting work, Mucheru said the elections had been dispensed with.
He urged all Kenyans to return to work and continue with their nation building activities, adding that the Government would continue to assure and provide security to all citizens.
He said the Government would protect citizens and their property in accordance with its constitutional mandate.
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