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RIGHTS VIOLATED

Media council writes to Roba after journalists locked out of events

The MCK asserted that access to information by journalists is a constitutional right.

In Summary

• The move comes after the MCK received a complaint letter from the Mandera Journalists Association.

• This comes amid reports of attacks on journalists by security officials and threats from politicians.

Governor Ali Roba in Mandera town.
JOURNALISTS CRY FOUL: Governor Ali Roba in Mandera town.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The Media Council of Kenya has written to Mandera Governor Ali Roba protesting censorship of information and barring journalists from covering some events in the county.

The move comes after the MCK received a complaint letter from the Mandera Journalists Association that the Office of the Governor locked out several journalists based in the county from accessing a public function on the Building Bridges Initiative on June 18.

“On further investigations, the council also learned of allegations that journalists in the county have been facing the challenge of accessing the office of the governor and other senior officials whenever they seek for information on stories,” reads a letter by MCK CEO David Omwoyo.

This comes amid reports of attacks on journalists by security officials and threats from politicians.

Mandera is also one of the counties in Northern Kenya where terrorists have been launching attacks killing and maiming dozens while leaving others radicalised. Due to the attacks, the county has witnessed an exodus of non-native professionals.

“By way of this letter, the council protests in the strongest terms possible the act of blocking journalists from public events and denial of information which they are entitled to in the execution of their duties,” Omwoyo said.

The MCK asserted that access to information by journalists is a constitutional right guaranteed under Article 35 of the Constitution.

Last month, two Mandera residents accused Roba of conspiring with his cabinet to misuse Sh700 million approved in supplementary budgets.

Mohamed Okashi Mohamed and Hassan Ahmed Nur claimed the second and third supplementary budgets were not backed by any documents.

“This letter also serves as a cautionary notice against any further action that can potentially harm the rights of journalists involved, and encourages you to pursue alternative dispute resolution mechanisms with a view of restoring the journalists’ rights of access to information,” the MCK wrote.

Edited by Frank Obonyo