It has emerged that 49 per cent of journalists in the country are more at ease covering Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition political events compared to the 31 per cent who are comfortable covering Kenya Kwanza Alliance events.
This is according to data collected from the first week of July 2022 by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) which also gathered that 17 per cent of journalists are comfortable covering the Roots Party political events.
MCK report gathered that journalists’ discomfort with covering Kenya Kwanza kwanza stems from ejection from the alliance’s presidential running mate William Ruto’s events.
Ruto ordered journalists out during the UDA National Delegates Conference and recently another public gathering in Njoro claiming the party officials wanted to discuss important matters.
Furthermore, MCK also cited Ruto’s threat to snub the forthcoming presidential debate as a cause for the reaction by journalists.
"In addition, he has publicly threatened to boycott the upcoming presidential debate organised by the Media Owner’s Association, the Kenya Editors Guild and the Media Council of Kenya," MCK statement read.
Another issue the MCK raised with Ruto was the manner in which UDA’s senior communications team boycotted a meeting convened by the MCK and instead sent some junior officials to attend.
"UDA’s senior communications team also boycotted a meeting convened by the Media Council to forge a working Promoting Media Freedom and Responsible Journalism relationship with pollsters, editors and political party communications teams in June, opting to send junior staff,” MCK said.
The council also noted with concern that a section of Ruto’s supporters perpetuate slurs against some media houses and particular journalists.
MCK appealed to all political factions to assure the media of their safety during the electioneering period and the campaigns head for the homestretch.
The council said harassing and profiling journalists including denying them access to events, is an affront to press freedom and a violation of Kenyans' right to information.
MCK says it will not relent in its quest for free and fair media.
"As the country's media regulator, the Media Council of Kenya will not relent in its quest for free and fair media governed by ethos succinctly captured in the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Joumalism in Kenya as enshrined in the Media Council Act, 2013," MCK said.