National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi yesterday assured the two People Daily reporters summoned by Parliament over an expose that appeared to link MPs to rent-seeking practices that they will be treated as whistle-blowers.
Muturi said the two were invited to appear before Powers and Privileges Committee to assist Members in providing information which could help the leadership address ethical issues among MPs.
Muturi, who chaired a sitting with the Mediamax managers said the two journalists were being treated as whistle-blowers.
Appearing before the committee, Chief Sub-Editor Ken Bosire, the two writers and head of legal department Rose Muchori requested for more time to respond to the sommons even as Bosire stressed that news sources are sacred and should not be disclosed.
Muturi granted them 10 days to prepare their defence on a story published on Monday and a follow-up on Tuesday editions of the People Daily. “I have been hearing rumours out there that Parliament has summoned the two reporters, but to the contrary we are inviting them to assist as with information which will help us improve the institution of Parliament,” Muturi said.
“We have requested for more time to be adequately prepared. We will come back on August 14. The 10 days will give us sufficient time to respond to the matter raised,” said Bosire after the meeting.
Bosire said the committee has confirmed the journalists will not be grilled but asked to provide information that will help them further their investigations. “We have asked the committee to deal with the editor and not individual journalists.”
“We were assured we will not be coerced to reveal our sources. The committee underlined the aspect of protecting sources and members affirmed that this will not arise,” Bosire added.
On Tuesday Muturi ruled that the two journalists should be given a fair hearing and Members should not treat them as “suspects and enemies of the House”.
Meanwhile, the Kenya Editors’ Guild has condemned the move by the National Assembly to summon the reporters.
Secretary Christine Nguku said the editors read mischief and lack of respect for the media in the “so-called invitation to the committee”.
Speaking during the Annual Media Summit 2018 at Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, Nguku said the Editors’ Guild was concerned that Parliament failed to utilise structures in place to address complaints against journalists.
“The Media Council has a Complaints Commission which has the capacity to address issues raised against the media. It is open to all citizens without exception,” she said.