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September 18, 2018

Muturi meets editors, urges mutual respect, good media relations

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi speaks at a retreat with the Editors Guild at Serena Hotel Mombasa on Friday, September 14, 2018. /JOHN CHESOLI
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi speaks at a retreat with the Editors Guild at Serena Hotel Mombasa on Friday, September 14, 2018. /JOHN CHESOLI

The leadership of the National Assembly has called for mutual respect and good working relationship with the media fraternity.

Last month, the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi came under sharp criticism for summoning People Daily journalists Dinah Ondari and Anthony Mwangi.

The writers were summoned after the newspaper ran a story on rampant corruption in the House committees.

During a retreat with the Editors Guild at Serena Hotel Mombasa on Friday, Muturi said the summonses were never meant to be an attack on media freedom.

He told the editors that the National Assembly has remained open to media scrutiny and criticism.

"We have remained opened to your criticism, but you (media) too have a role to play at the centre of creating that public confidence," he said.

The speaker said free and accurate reportage of parliamentary proceedings are key to the development of a nation.

"In this respect, media needs to be effective and accurate. The issue of accuracy is very important. Recently, we have seen very screaming sensational headlines."

John Mbadi, the National Assembly Minority leader, said "parliament needs to work closely with the media, but not very close."

"When we ask journalists to appear before parliament, it is not in bad faith. We are just asking for them to come and give evidence that will be of help to our investigations."

The ODM chairperson said when journalists report on something that borders on an illegality, they must then be free to give evidence before the House.

"When called to give evidence, it is not that we are summoning the said journalists. We are also not interested in their sources," he said.

He said it should be crucial that the relationship between Parliament and journalists be that of mutual respect and free of excessive mistrust.

"What I see is excessive mistrust. In a good working relation, both sides stand to benefit," Mbadi said.

He said both Parliament and journalists share responsibility to contribute to political, economic, and social development.

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