Freedom of expression and freedom for all citizens to receive and impart information forms the foundation of our democracy. It is for this reason that we affirm our commitments and loyalty to the people of Kenya whom we serve.
We are dismayed that since the Kenya Kwanza administration came to office 10 months ago, it has directed sustained attacks on the media.
The most recent attacks have been triggered by an exposé of corruption in government and other stories projecting voices demanding accountability on the part of the government.
The media has a sacred responsibility to the people of Kenya, and thus will continue, without fear, to report on public issues and project the different voices in society as well as seek truth to power
We read the consistent attacks on the media as attempts to divert public attention from widespread theft of public funds and other governance challenges facing the new administration.
We urge the government to stop targeting and intimidating the media which is only discharging its responsibility to the public. Instead, the government should respond to concerns by Kenyans on the scandals exposed by the media in the past 10 months, including:
- Diversion of condemned sugar into the market.
- Repackaging and sale of subsidized fertilizer.
- Questions over KEMSA, especially on the mosquito nets funds
- Concerns over the management of NHIF which have rendered it unable to serve Kenyans
- The questions over favoritism in the duty-free commodity imports including edible oils, maize and rice
- Use of advertising revenue as a tool to blackmail the media
- Interference with independent institutions, especially National Lands Commission
- The Shakahola horror
- Failure to investigate and take action against those responsible for attacks against Journalists, especially during the recent public protests over skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, among other key issues.
We wish to state that the media never took a collective position in support of any specific candidate in the 2022 elections. We call on the government to stop this uncalled for propaganda and continued hostile political rhetoric against the media and journalists. We view this as an attempt to blackmail and arm-twist the media into ceasing scrutiny of the government and those wielding power and authority.
As the media, we affirm our commitment to discharging our role including holding this regime to account for the good of Kenyans as we have done previous regimes since independence and re-state that we will not be cowed into submission.
Journalists are guided by the commitment to truth, underpinned by an ethical code enshrined in the Laws of Kenya.
We urge those aggrieved by the media to seek redress through the Media Complaints Commission established under the Media Council Act and where necessary through the courts.
KMSWG stands in solidarity with Nation Media Group and all journalists in the country against attacks and threats from government officials.
We also call on President William Ruto to issue a firm assurance that they will not be allowed to seek shelter by trying to silence media that exposes their misdeeds. We are also calling on the International Community to intervene and protect Media Freedom.
- Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ)
- Kenya Editors Guild
- Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA)
- Association of Freelance Journalists (AFJ)
- Association of Media Women in Kenya
- Digital Broadcasters Association (DBA)
- International Association
- Article 19
- Eastern Africa Editors’ Society (EAES)
- Friedrich Naumann Foundation For Freedom (FNF)
- Association of Professional Broadcasters (APB)
- Media Owners Association (MOA)