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Media slaps CS Kuria with tough demands after his controversial remarks

Kenya Union of journalists and Kenya Editors Guild have issued a set of demands for CS Kuria after his remarks

Kenya Union of Journalists Secretary-General Eric Oduor with Kenya Editors Guild CEO Rosalia Omungo during a press conference at the Serena Hotel on February 21, 2023 | Photo: Muturi Kanini

A recent series of remarks made by Moses Kuria, the Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Industrialization in Kenya, has sparked widespread criticism from media organizations and civil society.

The controversial statements, targeting both the media and government officials, have raised concerns about the CS's conduct and the impact on Kenya's image.

During a church service on Sunday, June 18 in Embu, Kuria stated that any government official who places an advertisement on the Nation Media Group risks losing their jobs.

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The Cabinet Secretary’s displeasure with NMG came hours after the media house ran a story in which he was implicated in an Sh6 billion edible oil deal that was birthed during President William Ruto's first cabinet meeting

In response, two media associations, Kenyan Union of Journalist(KUJ) and Kenya Editors Guild (KEG), have issued statements to condemn the CS's act and ask him to offer an apology.

KUJ has expressed its concern over Kuria's statements, labeling him as a symbol of national shame.

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The organization emphasizes that as a Cabinet Secretary, Kuria holds a position of authority and influence, and his actions and words should reflect positively on the nation. The organization reminds Kuria of the importance of upholding the principles of leadership and integrity, as enshrined in the law.

"His reactions to media reports regarding one of the many scandals that have hit Kenya Kwanza administration within a span of 10 months, are not only embarrassment to Kenyans, but a confirmation that his stomach is full and can belch and eventually vomit on the shoes of hungry Kenyans with impunity," reads the statement in part.

Quoting the renowned philosopher Plato, KUJ highlights that leaders serve as mirrors of society. It expresses the hope that President William Ruto will take action to protect Kenyans from the national shame associated with Kuria's conduct.

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Meanwhile, the Editors Guild reminds Mr Kuria that although the media plays a crucial role in informing and educating the public, and holding power to account, it does not operate above the law.

"The media plays a very important role in a democracy, including holding power to account. In doing so, the media does not operate above the law. If a State Officer or any Kenyan for that matter, is aggrieved by the work of the media, they have an array of avenues to raise them, including pursuing the legal route or reaching out to the media entity concerned., reads their statement in part.

The Kenya Editors' Guild expects an unconditional apology from Moses Kuria for his unfortunate remarks.

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Furthermore, editors, journalists, and all media practitioners seek assurance from the Kenya Kwanza administration that Kuria's sentiments do not represent government policy.

It is imperative that media enterprises are accorded the space and freedom to fulfill their mandate without fear or intimidation according to the organization.

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