Editors Guild rebukes Senator Cheruiyot for labelling media a cartel

The Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) has condemned in the strongest terms utterances made by Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot who referred to the media as a cartel.

In a statement on his Twitter page on Monday, Cheruiyot, who is also the Senate Majority Leader, claimed that President William Ruto is intent on crushing Kenya’s media, alongside the banking sector.

“President Ruto will succeed in crushing every cartel in the country save for two that are extremely powerful, banks and media. Both are very powerful, influential, and synergise so well to protect each other’s interest. For public good, a way must be found,” the senator tweeted.

KEG President Churchill Otieno issued a statement later on Monday, expressing alarm over Cheruiyot’s reckless and worrying post.

Otieno said Cheruiyot’s ill-omened classification reveals that President Ruto is keen to crush the media, which he said is a key pillar of Kenya’s democracy and a catalyst of democratic discourse.

“It is dumbfounding that the Senator sees the media as a cartel rather than a catalyst of Kenya’s democratic discourse without which, many politicians of his ilk would never have emerged to become anything worth quoting. If we are to take his comment seriously, the Senator is saying that the President is keen to crush the media. We hope he is wrong and that President Ruto and his government have no such designs,” Otieno said.

He added that Cheruiyot’s utterances amount to an open threat to the media and a direct affront to media freedom.

“His appears to be a well-choreographed scheme to profile a key pillar of Kenya’s democracy and lead a lynch mob to try and cripple it Framers of Kenya’s Constitution foresaw the possibility of such attempts to silence the messenger and enacted Article 34,35 and 36 to protect media from the Cheruiyots of this world,” he added.

Otieno reminded Cheruiyot that there are constitutional avenues available for people or entities who feel aggrieved by the media, such as approaching the Media Complaints Commission with any competent claim.

He also urged him to cease and desist from undermining Kenya’s democracy by choosing “the rule of the jungle” over “the rule of law”.

“All national leaders have a duty to promote rule of law and it is very concerning when a key leader in Parliament chooses the rule of the jungle on any matter,” he said.

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