The Media Council of Kenya(MCK) has come out strongly to criticise the harassment of a journalist by Nairobi Governor, Mike Sonko, at the Ethics and Anti Corruption(EACC) headquarters in Nairobi on Tuesday, November 4.
The regulator in a press statement also bashed the police present at the site for aiding the governor to block the journalist from doing his work.
“The council notes with concern that instead of protecting the journalists, the police deliberately lobbed teargas at the journalist in a bid to prevent members of the press from recording the unfolding events,” its statement read in part.
MCK further called upon the Directorate of Criminal Investigation(DCI) and Office of Director of Public Prosecution(ODPP) to investigate circumstances surrounding the attacks on several other journalists whom namely include; Collins Kweyu(Standard Group), Steve Shitera(Citizen TV), Jeff Angote(Nation TV) and Joseph Wakhungu(Milele FM).
The council insisted that they hoped the investigations would lead to culprits being booked and charged appropriately.
Sonko was caught on camera assaulting a Standard journalist as he entered the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission offices where he had been summoned earlier on Tuesday.
In a video seen by Opera News, Sonko is seen raising his hand before landing a very quick slap on the journalist’s head who was stopped by police officers at the gate just as Sonko who was right behind was trying to gain access to EACC offices.
— The Standard Digital (@StandardKenya) November 5, 2019
The Journalist who has since been identified as Collins Kweyu, did not sustain any major injuries but complained of some back pains, “yes, I was hurt on my back and my shoulders because the push and pull was very ugly,” said Kweyu on an interview with Standard Digital.
The MCK wished to remind law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint when dealing with journalists in the field wishing to remind the “perpetrators of justice that Press Freedom is a right enshrined in the constitution and any attempts to block the journalists from exercising this right amount of violation of the Supreme Law.”