Nairobi, December the 7th 2013
STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA & DEPUTY PRESIDENT WILLIAM RUTO’S CONTEMPTIOUS ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE MEDIA
The repeated reference by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto of newspaper print, as “worth nothing but paper with which to wrap meat the following day”, is unfortunate and unpalatable. It not only confirms the contemptuous attitude of our leaders towards the media, but also threatens to make inept Jubilee Government’s own resolve of creating job opportunities for our upcoming young professionals.
A host of universities and middle-level colleges annually churn out journalists to the job market and the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) is alarmed by public sentiments by our dear President and his deputy, which openly dissuade the people against purchasing and reading newspapers. Besides the journalists, is a chain of thousands of other players across the country, including newspaper vendors, transporters and advertisers who, directly or indirectly, depend on the media industry for their livelihood.
But perhaps for his confession last Friday in Tharaka Nithi County that “I do not even read newspapers in the morning”, the President is not in touch with the hard economic realities experienced by his mostly jobless and struggling countrymen and women. On the newspaper prints, President Kenyatta would perhaps have driven home his point better, were he to advise the people to use it to “wrap nduma, omena and sukuma-wiki” and not the rare “nyama” delicacy.
Our hope is that the apparent negative attitude by the Executive has nothing to do with the recent sanctioning by Parliament of punitive fines to members of the Fourth Estate. In the meantime, KUJ welcomes our dear President and Deputy President to stay informed and in touch with the people of Kenya and give hope to our unemployed youth by reading newspapers, as well.
Oscar Kwena Obonyo
National Organising Secretary – Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ)
December 7, 2013
Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ)
International House, Mama Ngina Street, Nairobi
P.O Box 47035 – 00100