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The Kenya Editors Guild is a not for profit professional organisation that brings together the most senior print, magazine, broadcast and other electronic media editors.......

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The Kenya Editors’ Guild Response to Parliament’s eviction of journalists from National Assembly Media Centre

The Kenya Editors’ Guild is shocked and dismayed by Parliament’s eviction of journalists from National Assembly Media Centre.

We do not believe for a moment the explanation by National Assembly Clerk Joseph Bundi that the space is required for use by parliamentary committees.

It is instructive that the action comes shortly after the House Majority Leader Aden Duale threatened reprisals against the media reaction to unfavorable coverage over MPs demands for increased pay.

The action also came with an assertion by Mr Bundi that the media will henceforth cover Parliament only by “by invitation”.

It is therefore impossible to delink the ejection of journalists from Parliament’s undisguised ire over the frank and forthright manner in which the media has captured public anger over the unpopular and unjustifiable pay demands.

Such actions are unprecedented in independent Kenya.

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They are retrogressive, dictatorial and totally unacceptable in a modern, progressive and democratic society.

We would like to remind the House bureaucracy and the Members alike that coverage of the Parliament is not a favour bestowed on the media.

It is an inalienable right linked to the right of Kenyans to know what goes in Parliament..

The Constitution of Kenya and the Laws of Kenya  underscores this by expressly  calling for open sessions of the Legislature open to the public, as well as unhindered media coverage.

The concept of coverage by invitation is unknown in any democracy; whilst sequestration of the media centre under the guise of providing room for committee sittings can only be  blatant action aimed at denying journalists a free and conducive working environment.

The media in Kenya remains committed to a free coverage of Parliament as an obligation to the citizens of Kenya.

Such coverage, however, becomes difficult when Parliament itself sets out to place obstructions.

The Kenya Editors’ Guild therefore demands that Parliament rescind those restrictive measures immediately.

The Guild will consider asking media houses halt all coverage of Parliamentary proceedings until the environment for free and unhindered media access is restored.

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