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December 19, 2018

Eight Daily Nation columnists resign, cite lack of editorial independence

Nation Centre which house Nation Media Group offices in Nairobi. /MONICAH MWANGI
Nation Centre which house Nation Media Group offices in Nairobi. /MONICAH MWANGI

Eight Daily Nation newspaper columnists on Tuesday tendered their resignation citing lack of editorial independence at the media firm.

The lot exit on grounds that the media house's managers have failed or refused to safeguard journalistic ethos.

But Nation, in a statement on Tuesday, defended the claims saying it has been, since inception, "founded on the bedrock of independent voices diversity and freedom of expression."

The columnists who resigned are KNHCR deputy chairperson George Kegoro, Muthoni Wanyeki, Gabriel Dolan, and Rasna Warah.

Others are Maina Kiai, Gabrielle Lynch, Nic Cheeseman, and Kwamchetsi Makokha.

The writers accused Nation Media of systematically placing constraints on independent voices contrary to its stated editorial policy.

"We feared the legitimacy of NMG as a credible source of truth was being undermined by its management's failure or refusal to safeguard the operational independence of professionalism."

The writers, in their letter, cited the dismissal of Dennis Galava, who was the company's Managing Editor for Special Projects and Investigations at the time he was sacked.

The columnists also gave the lapsing of Gado as the paper's cartoonist and the management's lack of efforts to deal with mass exits of some senior staff as reasons.

"Our view is that these actions damaged the NMG's claim to be a champion of editorial independence and media freedom," the letter read.

But the media house, in its response, said it believes in the principles of independence, fairness and balance as espoused in its editorial policy.

"Nation Media Group notes with regret, the position taken by columnists who have been writing for our publications. We respect their right to take a collective decision, although each of them had an individual contract that we had diligently honoured over the years," a statement by the group said.

Head of corporate affairs Clifford Machoka said: "We wish to reiterate that overall we have honoured our obligations to respect their views and did not tamper with their positions except to correct basic errors."

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