Embakasi East Member of Parliament Paul Ongili alias Babu Owino has confirmed that he called and threatened Citizen TV’s Senior News Editor Muraya Kariuki.
Muraya, who took to his Twitter handle to publicly reveal that he had received a nasty call from someone who introduced himself as Babu Owino, said he was threatened because of his journalistic work.
“I just received a very nasty phone call from a person who introduced themselves as Hon Babu Owino on +254 711 111311. This has to do with the work I do. It is not good manners to try to scare lowly journalists. Tunaomba tufanye kazi kwa Amani,” Muraya tweeted.
In a response, Babu Owino commented on his post accusing him of always running negative news about the ODM leader Raila Odinga.
“Yes, I called you na utawacha ujinga yako. It’s both professional misconduct and unprofessional conduct using your position to influence and air negative news against Baba,” Babu Owino replied to the post.
Muraya went further and shared screenshots of Babu Owino texting and tweeting derogatory messages about him.
In one of the screenshots, a message he received warns him of dire consequences for airing a negative message about Raila.
The message was from the same number that had allegedly called him and issued threats.
“You can enjoy your small cheo. You will take responsibility for the negative news you chose to air against Baba. We have proved beyond peradventure that you are on DP Ruto’s Payroll,” the message reads.
Muraya further challenged Babu Owino to file an official complaint against him with his bosses or the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) which regulates journalists, rather than threatening him.
“File a formal complaint please, with my bosses or any regulatory body that you feel would address your concerns. It is better than this nonsense of threats,” Muraya challenged Babu.
The developments came on the very day MCK asked politicians to stop interfering with media freedom in the country.
MCK CEO David Omwoyo Omwoyo, while responding to calls from a section of leaders allied to Deputy President William Ruto urging their followers to boycott Citizen TV, said their statements are affronts to media freedom.
“Politicians cannot on their own accord term the media as unprofessional. Such an action amounts to taking the law into their own hands and proceeding to pronounce judgement on an issue they are not made to pronounce,” Omwoyo said in a press statement on Monday, September 6.
The MCK CEO further warned politicians that those who will continue attacking the media risk not being cleared to contest in the next General Election.
“Any politician who attacks the media is a threat to press freedom and the Media Council of Kenya will oppose their clearance for partici[nation in the next elections,” Omwoyo added.