The Media Council of Kenya and Kenya Union of Journalists(KUJ) has condemned Azimo La Umoja -One Kenya coalition leader Raila’s call to his supporters to boycott the Star Newspaper.
In a statement to newsrooms, KUJ Secretary General Eric Odour said the decision is undermining the freedom and the independence of the media in Kenya.
“This is very unfortunate, with the remark coming from a leader who understands the importance of a free and independent press in promoting good governance and transparency in public process, which he, is fighting for,”Odur said.
He stated that the decision will endanger the lives of The Star newspaper journalists who will be targeted by Azimio supporters.
“The boycott call and derogator remarks, do not only puncture the independence of the media but put at risk the lives of journalists working with the Star Newspapers who will soon become victims of assault by Azimio supporters all over the country.”
“We call upon Mr. Odinga and Azimio La Umoja group to respect the freedom of the media and use appropriate channels to file complaints if the actions of journalists violate Code of Conduct for Practice of Journalism in Kenya,” he added.
“Mr. Odinga as a leader must desist from making statements that will set up men and women who are working under very difficult environment to check the government and all leaders holding various positions in the country for the common good of the Kenyan society.”
MCK CEO, David Omwoyo said Raila’s statements are part of efforts to manipulate public opinion and limit freedom of the press of the press.
“Such attacks undermine the freedom of the press and are attempts to undermine the role of the press in freely informing the electorates based on the editorial judgements. Freedom of the press is an essential right that allows journalists to report on events, issues and people without fear of censorship.”
“When political leaders ask people to boycott a national newspaper, they are essentially trying to undermine this freedom and to control the narrative in their favor,” the CEO stated.
“Further, and given the current economical hardships being faced by the media, boycotting a national newspaper could have serious economic consequences for the newspaper and its employees, potentially leading to job losses.”