SECTIONS

William Ruto: Media biased against me, I won't participate in presidential debate

Deputy President William Ruto claims a section of the media is biased against him. [File, Standard]

Deputy President William has asked the media to be fair in political reporting and allocation of airtime to key players in the upcoming general election.

Through his presidential campaigns secretariat, Ruto said he’d “noted with much concern the repeated and continued bias and propaganda in a section of Kenya’s mainstream media”.

“We note the unequal allocation of coverage, compounded by biased framing and negative profiling of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance campaign and personalities affiliated to it,” the DP said on Thursday, June 2 through his presidential campaigns communications director Hussein Mohamed.

“While their nefarious intentions and actions remain inconsequential to an enlightened people, we demand fair play as a matter of right as well as professional decency,” added Mohamed.

 “Political news is a matter of public interest and its coverage therefore by a journalist, media practitioner or media enterprise, according to the Media Council Act (2013), has to be done fairly, accurately and with all sides of the story being reported. This has been deliberately contravened, consciously ignored and brazenly abused by the sections of the media.”

Ruto named two leading private media organisations as “notorious” for allegedly offering unfair coverage against Kenya Kwanza. One of the media houses is majorly broadcast-based, while the other is print-heavy.

“We expect the media to play their rightful role in cultivating a healthy, robust and inclusive discourse. Our democracy depends on the media to make our political environment less divisive and less toxic."

Presidential debate boycott

The deputy president has, consequently, warned that he’ll boycott the presidential debate scheduled for July 12, 2022.

“Under the current partisan media environment, we have advised our candidate against participating in the presidential debates,” said Mohamed.

Ruto alleges that the media organisations highlighted by his communications team tend to favour Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential aspirant Raila Odinga when it comes to coverage.