KTN’s Jicho Pevu Reporters’ Lives At Risk – Rights Groups


KTN’s Jicho Pevu Reporters’ Lives At Risk – Rights Groups

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TWO civil society organisations have raised concern over the safety of two journalists and their sources over the recent investigative story on the 2004 seizure of cocaine haul worth Sh6.4 billion.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Article 19 yesterday condemned the police for threatening Mohammed Ali and Dennis Onsarigo over a story aired on KTN on how the multibillion cocaine haul was seized, stored, investigated and disposed.

The two organisations said the threats by the police amounted to watering down constitutional guarantees on basic freedoms. They warned that threats to journalists and their sources are illegal, criminal and a claw back on the fundamental freedoms in the new constitution. “The predicament of KTN journalists and their sources raises concerns about witness protection,” said KNCHR commissioner Ann Ngugi, terming the threats as illegal, criminal and “a claw back on the fundamental freedoms in the new constitution”.

Ngugi said the media’s role is critical for public access to information that would otherwise be impossible to get. “Information thus obtained enables the public to better participate in national development and hold leaders and institutions accountable,” she said. After the story was aired, Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojode told Parliament the government had set a up a team to investigate how the haul was handled, stored and disposed.

While welcoming the move, Henry Maina of Article 19 challenged the minister to give names of the members of the team and provide the public with its terms of reference.

In the meantime, Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has written to the Standard Group demanding an apology from KTN over a documentary aired last week on drug trafficking in the country. Through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, Iteere said the documentary – The untouchables and which also aired in Kiswahili, Jicho Pevu – has greatly “exposed him to ridicule, contempt and humiliation yet he was an honest hardworking police officer”.

Other than an apology, Iteere wants the station to retract the documentaries saying that they were offensive. “We further demand that the videos posted on youtube be immediately deleted from your account held with the said website,” reads part of the letter. The police Commissioner said any prudent viewer that watched the documentaries would conclude that he used his position in the GSU to protect drug dealers.

Iteere said the documentaries portrayed him as a person who participated in the diversion of the seized cocaine and was a person who cannot be trusted with the safety and security of Kenyans and the public in general. In the letter, Iteere denies that he was at the time the deputy GSU commandant as claimed in the documentary stating that his true position then, was a commandant of the presidential escort unit.

He further denies that he was ever given a responsibility, either singly or jointly of securing the custody of the Sh6.4 billion cocaine haul at the GSU Embakasi.

The documentary had claimed that Iteere, the then GSU commandant Lawrence Mwadime and Erastus Chemorei had been tasked with securing the haul.

Source: www.Nairobistar.com

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