Nairobi — President William Ruto has weighed in on the ongoing debate over the remarks by Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria directed at the media.
The remarks disparaging the Nation Media Group following the expose’ over the edible oil scandal has sparked mixed reactions, with media organizations and rights groups expressing concern over the potential threats to press freedom.
Speaking Wednesday in Naivasha, President Ruto said that in as much as the rights of the media needs to be protected, the rights of those who call out the media should equally be safeguarded.
Speaking in Naivasha on Wednesday, President Ruto emphasized the importance of protecting both the rights of the media and the rights of those who criticize the media.
While acknowledging the need to safeguard media freedoms, he highlighted the equal significance of allowing individuals to express their grievances, as long as they do not undermine the country.
“I think the last 2 days there has been a big debate about who say what, I don’t know Moses Kuria said something. We must always remember that this is our country, we must always remember to celebrate our country, and we must defend the right of anybody to say whatever it is that they want so long as we are not sabotaging Kenya,” he said.
He further affirmed that Moses Kuria, like anyone else, has the right to voice his concerns whenever he feels aggrieved by the media’s conduct.
The president called for the defense of those who hold the media accountable when it deviates from its responsibilities.
“We must also defend the right of those who hold the media to count or who call out the media when the media goes rogue. We must also defend the right of people like Moses Kuria to speak their mind,” he said.
The Head of State, however vowed to play his part in defending the freedom of the press but pleaded with the media to exercise fairness in all their reporting.
President Ruto further admitted that he too has been a victim of “rogue media” and emphasized the importance of responsible journalism.
“I saw one journalist saying the president should defend us from Moses Kuria that’s fine I’ll do my bit, but I want to ask them so who is going to defend me from rogue Media because I go through hell all the time. I think we need a fair balance,” he said.
He pointed out that the same way the media feels “pained” by what others say is equally felt by those who fall victim to ‘false’ attacks from the media.
“I think if they are feeling pain about what others say about them it should tell them they are people who feel pain when they write falsehood about others I hope this will enable us to calibrate what we say either way against other people I think it will it will really bring us together,” he added.
He called on Kenyans and the media in the country to always strive to defend the country and its image.