A magistrate’s Court has jailed a Tuko.co.ke editor for 6 months for publishing inaccurate information about the ongoing NYS case.
Magistrate Eunice Nyutu said that the sentencing would serve as a warning to journalists publishing misleading stories, insisting that such actions amount to defamation and are punishable by law.
Didacus Malowa, an editor at the popular news site, was given an option to pay a fine of Ksh. 50 000.
Malowa was summoned to appear before the court Monday, September 26, when he was handed the jail term upon pleading guilty.
However, the Kenya Union of Journalists, KUJ, has denounced the move, terming it retrogressive and purposed to counter the gains made in journalism, especially on championing matters of public interest.
“While we respect the decision of the court, such retrogressive decisions have far-reaching consequences to the country’s governance, especially in the fight against corruption, which is at the centre of this matter,” said KUJ Secretary General Erick Oduor in a statement.
He added that the union had instructed its lawyer to appeal the court’s decision.
“The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) has instructed its lawyer to appeal the decision by Nairobi Principal Magistrate Eunice Nyutu to jail Tuko Editor for six months with an option of a fine of Ksh 50,000,” said Oduor.
“Jailing a journalist in the 21st Century is not only an assault on freedom of the media, which is well guarded by the constitution but a blow to the quest for a just society,” he added.
Oduor further stated that the law provides alternative mechanisms to handle defamation incidents among journalists, which include pulling down the published piece and apologizing to the inflicted parties.
“The law provides for a mechanism for parties to seek redress in the event they are aggrieved by the work of journalists to protect the Fourth Estate from such assault. It is incumbent on Courts to strictly adhere to these mechanisms and procedures to ensure the rule of law and democratic governance prevails,” he said.
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