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Media Practitioners accuse State of duping them

By | May 4th 2009

By Maseme Machuka

The Government has been accused of oppressing the media.

Media stakeholders sum up Kenya as "a country that has entered the list of shame".

Editors Guild, Kenya Union of Journalists, Kenya Journalists Association (Keja) and the civil society were united in demanding full freedom "and respect for rights of journalists".

Editors Guild Chairman Macharia Gaitho said Kenya had always boasted a high degree of media freedom, "but had rejoined countries where journalists are killed in the line of duty".

He gave the example of the murder of reporter Francis Nyaruri and decried the slow pace at which the police were investigating the issue.

"When the State gets away with such brazen assault, it will only be emboldened to apply similar tactics against the established media," he said. Addressing a Press briefing, Mr Gaitho said when it comes to defending the media "there should be no divide between mainstream and the alternative media".

Foster dialogue

KUJ’s Eric Orina said this year’s theme: ‘The potential of media in fostering dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation’ captures the Kenyan situation." Mr Orina said the Freedom of Information Bill continues to gather dust at Parliament’s shelves when it should be debated and passed.

He said the media was duped by the President’s initiative to ask the Attorney General to come with a new Communication law.

Journalists later held a peaceful procession from the Panafric Hotel through Kenyatta Avenue, City Hall Way, Taifa Road and Harambee Avenue. They handed over a memorandum to the AG on Nyaruri’s death.

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