Media Council orders the Star to apologise to Uhuru
The Star Newspaper has been ordered to retract and apologise over an article it published about President Uhuru Kenyatta in February last year. The order was issued by the Media Council of Kenya’s (MCK) arbitration panel, the Complaints Commission which was chaired by Grace Katasi with Peter Mwaura and Murej Mak’Ochieng being the other members of the Commission.
Additionally the newspaper has been directed to pull down the same article from its online edition. The council directed that the apology should be published on the Star website with immediate effect for seven days after the ruling.
Parties from the Star and representatives of the president will however meet to agree on the terms of the apology to be published in the print section within 14 days of the ruling.
The commission has also ordered a reprimand to be published by the MCK in two other dailies with wide circulation. The complaints commission has however declined to grant a ruling on damages which President Uhuru Kenyatta had applied to be paid.
Katasi said the commission has no jurisdiction or mandate to order for payment of damages. In the case in question, President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta lodged a complaint with the Media Council of Kenya on February 7, 2012 against The Star Publications Ltd and Jerry Okungu in respect of an article published in the The Star newspaper on February 6 2012 titled “What if Uhuru Ruto win?” and written by Mr. Jerry Okungu.
President Kenyatta complained that the article was offensive and biased in breach of section 35 (1) of the Media Act Cap 411B and article 1 (a) on Accuracy and Fairness of the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism.
President Kenyatta further complained that the newspaper and the writer failed to maintain the Code of Conduct in breach of Section 35(2) of the Act. Following the reading of the ruling, the Star Newspaper has 14 days within which to appeal.
And recently, we had this case below this time from Ruto:
Paper faces legal action over Sh100m Ruto jet story
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22- Deputy President William Ruto has sent a demand letter to the Nation Media Group (NMG) over a story that ran on the May 19 issue of the Sunday Nation, alleging he spent Sh100 million of taxpayers’ money to hire a luxury jet.
Ruto said the media group must issue an apology, admit liability for libel within seven days and retract the false story because of the harm it caused him after publication.
He argued that the newspaper ran with the story, which was accessible throughout the East African region and the Internet, under what he termed as an ‘unnecessary, provocative and alarming headline’.
Ruto’s office was this week forced to control the damage done by releasing invoices and other documents relating to the rental of the jet, maintaining that the actual cost was Sh18.5 million.
“It was expressly meant to embarrass, discredit and malign his respected status and standing as a respected Kenyan and deputy president in the government of Kenya,” the demand note from Ruto’s advocate Kioko Kilukumi states.
The deputy president added that the jet he hired did not have any bedroom, meeting room, office, lounge or fully equipped kitchen as alleged in the article.
He explained that he opted for the cheapest option out of the three quotations that were obtained from charter aircraft service providers and cautioned the media house against running additional publications of a similar nature.
Ruto maintained that the jet in question was not hired on an annual basis but on a one-off basis adding that there would be no need to pay for it in instalments.
“The article was calculated to be understood that our client was leading a lavish lifestyle at the expense of the taxpayers. A prudent reader will conclude that our client has very little regard to tax payer’s monies,” argued Kilukumi in part.
It was not immediately clear what damages Ruto plans to get from the suit.
He also said that he will file a complaint with the Media Complaints Commission if NMG fails to comply with his demands within the stipulated time.
Ruto added that the journalist behind the headline did not seek his side of the story before publishing the article.
“The story as published lacks fairness, impartiality and accuracy. It is biased and heavily tilted to depict our client in the most unfavourable light,” stressed Kilukumi.