The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) issued a statement demanding that Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino retracts alleged threats issued to a Nairobi journalist.

Babu reportedly made phone calls and sent derogatory messages to Citizen TV senior editor Muraya Kariuki accusing him of partisan coverage of ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga.

MCK issued the statement on Tuesday saying it took great exception with the threats that the ODM legislator issued to Kariuki over coverage of the opposition politician.

The commission termed the threats as intimidating and infringement on freedom of the press.

“Media Council of Kenya takes exception with the threats issued by Embakasi East MP Babu Owino to Citizen TV journalist Muraya Kariuki on his coverage of the ODM leader. This amounts to intimidation and a major infringement on press freedom,” read the statement.

Apart from retracting the threats, the MCK also demanded that Babu appropriately apologizes to  Kariuki and the media fraternity at large for his alleged threats.

“As the protector of media freedom in Kenya the Media Council of Kenya demands that the MP withdraws the threats and issues an appropriate apology to the journalist and the media fraternity,” the statement read in part.

MCK condemned acts by politicians of threatening journalists who are only performing their rightful duties. 

The commission urged leaders to engage with journalists with decorum to encourage constructive dialogue, especially as Kenya gears towards next year’s General Election.

MCK also advised Babu to file any grievances he may have with the legally mandated Media Complaints Commission, which will handle the matter lawfully and take appropriate action.