The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) now wants Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof. George Magoha to issue a public apology for allegedly ethnically profiling a female journalist at an event in Nairobi on Monday.
During the event, Magoha allegedly implied that the said NTV reporter might have ties to outlawed terror group Al-Shabaab owing to the fact that she was donning a hijab, a head garment that is typically worn by Muslim women.
In a statement released on Wednesday, MCK CEO David Omwoyo urged the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to ensure that Magoha issues an unconditional apology, withdraws the unfortunate remarks and rescinds his directives against the smooth operation of media.
While condemning the CS’s actions, Omwoyo went to intimate that the case facing Magoha is not an isolated incident, claiming that the minister has been involved in bust-ups with other journalists in the past.
“Just recently, on 21st December 2021, the same Cabinet Secretary was also recorded on live TV making a personal attack against a Standard Group journalist Mr. Augustine Oduor for breaking a story on the launch of a Strategic Plan of a parastatal based at the Ministry of Education,” noted Omwoyo.
The MCK boss similarly castigated the CS for purportedly actively trying to hinder media practitioners from covering events pertaining to the local education sector, noting that such harassment can expose members of the Fourth Estate to unnecessary harassment, ridicule, and victimisation in the line of duty.
“On 7th January 2021, the Media Council of Kenya wrote to the CS and the Commission on Administrative Justice to protest a ministerial directive by the Ministry of Education requiring journalists to seek special permission to visit schools for media coverage,” he said.
“MCK then requested the CS to review the conditions he had issued to the effect that journalists would only be allowed to visit schools in the company of officers from the Ministry, a position that, in the Council’s view, violated the privileges, rights, and freedoms of the media as provided for under international treaties and conventions, and Articles 34 and 35 of the Constitution.”