The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has taken great exception to the summons issued against the editorial leadership of Royal Media Services, by the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Mr George Kinoti, over the expose dated 18th April 2021 with the titles “Silaha Mtaani” and “Guns Galore” broadcast on Citizen TV.
In a press statement, Chief Executive Officer & Secretary to the Council, David Omwoyo Omwoyo said the Council recognises the role of the DCI and it expects that the process is geared towards investigating the matter and not violating freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information as provided in the Constitution in articles 33, 34, 35 and the Media Council Act 2013.
“In this case where the media has exposed weaknesses among some elements in the National Police Service, natural justice demands the same Service cannot then purport to investigate or otherwise summon the journalists. Instead, efforts should be put toward finding out how their members are providing civilians with guns, bullets, uniforms and handcuffs,” said Omwoyo.
Journalists are protected by Kenya’s Constitution 2010. Further, Kenya is a signatory to and is bound by other international instruments including the Tswane Principles on National Security and Freedom of Expression.
“If the DCI, or in fact the National Police Service feels aggrieved by the investigative piece, they are urged to file a complaint with the Media Complaints Commission which is legally mandated to handle such matters under section 27 of the Media Council Act 2013,” said Omwoyo.
MCK says summoning journalists about their work or coercing them to reveal their sources is a violation of Press freedom and the Constitution.