GAGGING MEDIA

MCK condemns police attack on Embu journalists

Council chairman Maina Muiruri calls on the Eastern region police boss to investigate the incident.

In Summary

Media Council of Kenya has condemned three Embu Journalists’ manhandling by policemen before dumping them about 30kilometrs away for covering a protest they were suppressing.

Journalists Peter Mungai (Citizen TV) Solomon Muriithi (NTV), and Brian Malila (County FM Radio) with Media Council of Kenya chairman Maina Muiruri and liaison officer Stella Kaaria at Izaak Walton Inn on Saturday, May 16, 2020
SOLIDARITY: Journalists Peter Mungai (Citizen TV) Solomon Muriithi (NTV), and Brian Malila (County FM Radio) with Media Council of Kenya chairman Maina Muiruri and liaison officer Stella Kaaria at Izaak Walton Inn on Saturday, May 16, 2020
Image: REUBEN GITHINJI

The media regulator has condemned police manhandling of three Ebu journalists on Wednesday last week. 

The journalists were covering residents protesting against Tana and Athi Development Authority’s planned eviction from land near the Masinga Dam which they claim.

Police officers called to quell the protest took journalists Solomon Muriithi (NTV), Peter Mungai (Citizen) and Brian Malila (County FM Radio) in custody and dumped them bout 30 kilometres away. 

Media Council of Kenya chairman Maina Muiruri called on the Eastern region police boss to investigate the incident. 

Muiruri and the council’s liaison officer Stella Kaaria visited the journalists to hear their plight. 

 

Kaaria said that police are supposed to facilitate the work of journalists and guarantee their safety and security.  

Muiruri said the incident is part of a worrying trend that seems to be aimed at impeding journalists and media practitioners from carrying out their duty.  

He said the fact that police officers are increasingly turning against the media does not augur well for public interest and the transparency they expect.

Muriithi, Mungai, and Malila were arrested at Mbondoni village in Makima ward, by anti-riot policemen on Wednesday afternoon last week.

The protesting residents beat up a chief they claimed was supporting TARDA and two people they suspected were its officers before policemen rescued them.

The officers then turned on the residents with batons and fired in the air several times to disperse them.

 

The journalists were covering the confrontation when the policemen rounded them up and ordered them to delete the footage. 

The journalists expressed disappointment over the harassment by the officers as they carried out their work.

They later reported the matter at Kiritiri Police Station where they recorded statements over the incident.

Mbeere South subcounty Police Boss Ahmed Mohammed said the incident will be investigated before necessary action is taken.

(edited by o. owino)