PRESS FREEDOM: THE -G.R.E.A.M--- SPEAKS OUT
"Dear President Kibaki:
On March 2, 2006 government forces raided the headquarters and printing plant of the Standard Group. In addition to destroying equipment and newspapers, they shut down the KTN news station.
This latest attack follows the jailing of three journalists from Standard Newspaper, attacks on Citizen Weekly, and ongoing harassment of journalists by government-sponsored forces.
I urge you to condemn these attacks and to support freedom of the press."
I mainly write about Hip Hop and entertainment but this one cuaght my eye and I had to comment. Not that I suck this government's dick and not that I do not advocate for press freedom. Its because I love journalism.
First, the raiding was in bad taste and the day will always be remembered as a dark one in the history of press in Kenya and world over. It was like a bad dream to me when I woke up to the news of the raid. The governemnt erred in this one and I condemn the attack in the storngest of terms.
Secondly, I do not think the arrest of Swaleh Mdoe was to curtail freedom of the press otherwise the same would have happened to the likes of Muraya Kariuki, Jaidi Kisero, Philip Mwaniki or any other journalist. That is where the Standard Group went wrong when they accused the governemnt of harrasing the press coz one of their own had been arrested on suspicion of not being Kenyan. Remember what happened to Nation media Group journalist that were sent packing for working in Tanzania? Was that abuse of press freedom or would you call it protocal? I urge Standard Group to SHUN sensationalism and work towards responsible journalism.
Look at newspaper like Citizen Weekly or whatever they call it. The government still allows it to run even when they come up with maligning articles on Politician, Businessmen, Entertainment Celebrities and other well to do Kenyans. I remember one Headline that read "WANGARI MATHAAI MARRIES MUSICIAN ERIC WAINAINA" Others have read "HALF OF KENYAN MPS ARE HIV POSITIVE" This are just afew headlines that have graced the paper over the years and there are many others the list is just endless. This is irreponsible journalism and I dont think the President should be blackmailed into supporting bad or gutter press.
The Press and the Governemt should come together and come up with laws that will be acceptable to all. Meanwhile the Press should learn to regulate itself. They should learn from that Nation Media advert "The Dog ate my homewrok!"
On the other hand the goverment should never at any one time repeat the March attacks and should allow everyone to work in peace.be it a journalist, a garbage collector, a CEO or a hawker.