Police manning the gates at Royal Media Services were withdrawn on Wednesday morning, April 21.
Insiders at the media house alleged that this was in retaliation to Citizen TV’s investigative feature, Guns Galore (Silaha Mtaani) by reporter Purity Mwambia. The report alleged that thugs hire guns, ammunition and police attire from law enforcers at charges ranging between Ksh 1,000 to Ksh 200,000.
“The administration police are who are stationed at the gate work in two shifts, during the day and during the night. They did not report to duty,” the sources said.
They added that the move raised speculations over the safety of the media house, its staff and the investigative reporter, Purity Mwambia.
Police Spokesperson Charles Owino had not replied to Newszetu queries on the aforementioned matter by time of publication.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti announced that he would summon Mwambia, RMS editors and the management over the report.
Kinoti lamented that the media house did not consult the police or relevant stakeholders before airing the piece. He added that they weren’t even part of the investigative report as they alongside the Police Internal Affairs Unit or the Independent Police Oversight Authority were not interviewed by the reporter.
“The allegations made in this report are extremely serious. It is also apparent that crimes relating to unlawful possession of firearms may have been committed in the context of this report.
“We never refused to any operations being carried by you. This could be a fantastic operation if at least you could have put us on board. The moment you have received a piece of information where we can recover a firearm, please don’t be cheated it was okay to be done the way it was done. It was dangerous,” Kinoti said.
RMS handed the exhibits collected in the report, among them an AK 47 gun, a pistol, handcuffs and police uniform to the police.
The Media Council of Kenya (MCK), however, defended RMS from the DCI summons and said that it expected the police to investigate the matter rather than violate freedom of the press and access to information.
“In this case where the media has exposed weaknesses among some elements in the National Police Service (NPS), natural justice demands that the same service cannot then purport to investigate or otherwise summon the journalists.
“Instead, efforts should be put toward finding out how their members are providing civilians with guns, bullets, uniforms and handcuffs. Summoning journalists to reveal their sources is a violation of press freedom,” MCK wrote in a press statement dated Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
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