Media Council of Kenya has faulted the ruling by the court that the public desists from debate on whether Deputy Prime Minster Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto should run for presidency.

At the same time, the Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG) on Friday vowed to ignore a court order barring debate on the two’s presidential bid.

KEG said the matter has generated open and frank debate in the media and on other public platforms, adding that such an order is blanket gag on a matter of great public interest.

“KEG therefore calls upon it membership, the media in general, and the public to ignore any interpretation that would make the court order a gagging order infringing on Constitutional guarantees as enshrined in the Bill of Rights,” read a statement by editors.

Fair proceedings

The statement was signed by editors Kipkoech Tanui and David Ohito (Standard Group), Macharia Gaitho (Nation), Rosemary Okello (AWC Features), Catherine Gicheru (The Star) and Hassan Kulundu.

Media Council Chairman Dr Levi Obonyo, said they recognise the justification for the principle of sub judice and the right to accused persons and civil litigants to fair proceedings free of influence from media reports and other public voices that may have interest in matters being considered by court.

In the past, Obonyo said, the rule has had the effect of limiting public discussion and media reporting of cases in order to allow the court to address itself to them without interference. He also noted that the council recognises that the country promulgated a new Constitution over a year ago that protected the freedom of speech and of the press.

By Lucianne Limo, The Standard

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