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Press freedom in focus as Media Council summons newspaper

15 January 2015, 16:10 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - The Media Council of Kenya has summoned the Star Newspaper over alleged continued breach of conduct.

In a communique Thursday, the chairperson of the ethics committee at the council Grace Munjiri, said that the paper had continuously crossed ethical boundaries and thus must be put to task to explain its actions.

The communique followed an apology Thursday by the paper after it reprinted the cover to the latest edition of the Parisian weekly Charlie Hebdo, which depicted an image of the prophet Mohammed crying.

There was an uproar by Muslim leaders following the publication.

" The Media Council of Kenya is dismayed by the continued breaches to the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya by Radio Africa Group’s Star Newspaper. As the body mandated with promoting ethical standards among journalists and the media in Kenya, we are highly concerned with the blatant contravention by the newspaper of a number of articles in the Code of Conduct as entrenched in the Second Schedule of the Media Council Act 2013, the communique said.

It is not yet clear what the Council's direct issue with the paper is, but having mentioned the issue of offensive images, could be linked to the Charlie Hebdo picture.

The management of the paper is thus asked to avail itself next week to defend itself over the conduct of the paper.

" Consequently, the Council has summoned the management of Radio Africa Group on Thursday, 22 January 2015 to explain the unprofessional conduct of its journalists before an appropriate action is taken, including a contemplated withdrawal of accreditation of its journalists and excommunication of the paper from media enterprises regulated under Media Council of Kenya.

The summon will once again lift debate on press freedom in the country and put into focus the enactment of the recently controversial Security Laws which targeted the press in a number of its clauses.

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- MyNews24

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