Is it just the Kenya Forum’s warped sense of free speech or is there something a little disturbing about the Star newspaper being ordered by the Media Council’s Complaints Commission to publish an apology to President Kenyatta over comments made in a column by Jerry Okungu on February 6, 2012.
COMPARED TO ADOLF HITLER
The Forum has to be a bit careful here, given the Media Council’s decision and a pending libel suit but suffice to say that Jerry Okungu drew a parallel between Uhuru Kenyatta and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and made other allegations regarding the consequences if Kenyatta won the election.
The Media Council have given the Star’s lawyers 14 days to work out the wording of an apology with Kenyatta’s lawyers, so we all know that it will take all of the 14 days to complete the work so that the legal wigs get their full fees. But that’s not the Kenya Forum’s concern.
WHAT ABOUT A FREE AND DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY?
The worry surely must be that in a free and democratic country that Kenya claims to be, or at least seeks to be, the very widest latitude should be given to everyone, whether they be the man or woman on the street, or a journalist, to say what they like and criticize whom they like, even more so if the person being criticized is a high ranking politician.
“This was an opinion article. We are walking a risky road if we are now saying that you are only allowed to gently criticize politicians, and you are not allowed to criticize them harshly,” said the Star’s Managing Editor William Pike.
The Star, William Pike, and reporter Henry Wanyama who covered the ruling for the newspaper, might be in for more
trouble yet, however. The Stars manner of publishing the news of the Media Council’s ruling was to repeat the allegations made by Jerry Okungu in his original article.
DEAR PRESIDENT KENYATTA…
Kenya’s educations system needs fixing; the roads need mending; two days ago the whole country was without electricity for up to five hours; and millions of Kenyans need jobs.
The Kenya Forum hopes that President Kenyatta will lighten up toughen up, and get his priorities right.