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Media owners protest over threat on Star newspaper

By Lucas Ngasike | January 20th 2015 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Media owners protest over threat on Star newspaper
Media Owners Association Chairman Sam Shollei

The Media Owners Association (MOA) of Kenya has strongly censured the Media Council of Kenya over its threat to close down the Star newspaper.

MOA Chairman Sam Shollei, who is also the Standard Group chief executive officer, asked the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) to publicly withdraw the threat and convene a meeting with relevant stakeholders to address the issue.

"We are extremely shocked that the Media Council would proceed to issue a press statement threatening the closure of a media enterprise without engaging the concerned media house, the Media Owners Association and other stakeholders in the media industry," he stated.

In a statement, Mr Shollei said the threats by MCK amounted to a violation and assault on the freedom of the Press as guaranteed by the Constitution.

He asked MCK to furnish MOA with details of the alleged transgressions that were perpetrated by the Star and any other information that informed the decision to issue a warning on the closure of the newspaper.

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"We look forward to resolving the issue in an amicable manner," he explained.

MCK issued a press release saying it was contemplating withdrawing accreditation of Star journalists and excommunicating the paper from the media enterprises regulated under the Media Council of Kenya.

Only accredited media outlets and journalists are allowed to work in Kenya under the Media Act of December 2013. Withdrawal of accreditation would be equivalent to closure.

The press release, signed by Grace Munjuri, chairperson of the Ethics and Public Information Committee, complained about alleged persistent publishing of offensive stories and pictures by the Star.

It however, did not specify which stories or pictures had been deemed offensive.

The press release further stated that the Media Council had summoned the management of Radio Africa Group on Thursday, 22 January 2015 to explain the unprofessional conduct of its journalists before appropriate action is taken.

The Star wrote to the MCK requesting a formal communication as it had not received any such request from the council.

Star Managing Director, William Pike, also requested the MCK to specify which articles had caused offence.

He said the Star had always honoured requests to appear before the Media Council Complaints Commission, where several cases are presently under adjudication.

The Commission had found the Star at fault in only one case and the paper duly published an apology as directed.

Star newspaper Sam Shollei Media Council of Kenya
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