On Monday, July 25, Linus Kaikai, group editorial director for Royal Media Services (RMS), spoke about how SK Macharia's association with Raila Odinga, a presidential contender for Azimio la Umoja, affects the media company's journalists.
In an interview with the Committee to Protect Journalists, Kaikai emphasized that as the campaign season heats up ahead of the August 9 general election, profiling of journalists is a major concern (CPJ).
The seasoned reporter specifically pointed out that some RMS journalists were being targeted for evident bias in their overage
The owner of Citizen TV, Inooro TV, and a network of radio stations, RMS, he claimed, had consistently maintained that its editorial had nothing to do with the owner's political beliefs.
"Journalists are recognized as promoting Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition for the simple reason that our chairman and proprietor (SK Macharia) has voiced his support and is actively taking part in the campaigns for Raila Odinga. He has spread the word extensively.
Kaikai declared: "We frequently state and reassure the public that the chairman's position has no bearing on our editorial stance, yet this is rarely acknowledged.
The head of the media expressed worries that certain politicians may have incited their supporters to turn against RMS journalists, making them afraid to report for duty.
In some instances, RMS made the choice to get rid of the branding on its tools in order to protect the reporters.
"The issue of profiling is raising questions since these politicians have supporters. They accomplish this by unleashing them on our media channels. They distribute them to a picky assortment of our journalists. Profiling puts our teams' safety at risk since it essentially gives fans the go-ahead to act however they like. Our journalists are no longer permitted to wear our emblem.
Therefore, he said, "no microphone that reveals who we are, as you never know what fans may do if you proceed with your identification everywhere.
At political rallies around the country, there have been more instances of attacks on the media as election day draws near.
In January 2022, when the occupants of a Citizen TV truck were attempting to cover a demonstration led by Deputy President William Ruto in Nairobi's Jacaranda Grounds.
The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) released a research in mid-July 2022 that painted a similarly dire picture of the safety of journalists covering political events.
In contrast to the DP, which would be favored by 31% of media, 49% of them felt comfortable covering Raila, the research claims. Only 17% of respondents felt comfortable defending the Root party's Wajackoya.
The media raised alarm following recent episodes in which certain journalists were barred from Ruto's events, including the party's National Delegates Convention and a public gathering in Njoro, Nakuru County.
John-Allan Namu, the creator of Africa Uncensored, claimed that while there were less attacks on journalists in 2022 than in previous elections, he was still concerned about the state of press freedom.
"I've heard from our teams that rally attendees are tense and restless. There is a feeling that things could quickly turn ugly "He clarified.
He advised journalists to prioritize their safety as a result.
"It's imperative to constantly be informed of where the police are. Will they show up? Do they still exist on Earth today? Never interfere with demonstrators or the police, either. Likewise, avoid reporting after dark "He remarked.
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