Politicians should respect the Journalists and the Media Houses

By: Haggai Okumu

Modest would it be for the media and the political class to work hand in hand to ensure the public gets the information of development and the well-being of the society. The harder we try to theorize this fact the easier is the bond breaking especially when nearing elections like the ones slated for 2022.

Recently, the Media Council of Kenya has been mentioning some names of the politicians who are seen to have infringed on the press freedom by disrespecting the media houses and the journalists. As much as the politicians have the right to disagree with the editorial policy of any media house, it is unacceptable to incite the public against any media house.

Although, there is the freedom of expression as provided by the Kenyan constitution, article 33, but the politicians have been violating this together with the press freedom and access to information by passing threats to journalists, calling journalists names and also insulting them on account of not favoring or supporting their political parties or affiliations.

The contents of the posts by politicians are an affront to the media freedom and a clear sign of intimidation by politicians to the media houses and journalism at large.

I think it is a high time for the politicians to go back to the drawing board and ask themselves one question, if not for the media houses and journalists would they have been known by Kenyans? Would they pass information and their manifestos to the public? The politicians need to show some respect and love to this industry.

As much as the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has been protecting the media, they should come up with strong rules to the perpetrators especially the politicians who intimidate and infringe the press freedom. Leniency on this matter has developed as a thorn in the flesh, and therefore it is high time for sanity to be advised on the perpetrators and on the same note should they be brought into books by the legal teams.

The media is a very important organization in the society, and it requires freedom and respect as it is enshrined in article 34 of the Kenyan constitution, and so threats to press freedom can kill our media industry and leaders should be on the forefront to protect and respect the media practitioners and media industry at large.

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