Raila calls off boycott of Star newspaper as he stays put on anti-govt demos

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 23 Mar, 2023 19:26 | 2 mins read
Raila Odinga addressing the media at his capitol hill office on Thursday March 23, 2023. Photo/Screengrab

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance leader Raila Odinga has made a sharp u-turn on boycotting the Star Newspaper.

Speaking at his Capitol Hill office on Thursday, March 23, 2023, while addressing the media, Raila said that Azimio resolved to call off the boycott of the Star newspaper after consultations with stakeholders.

The Azimio leader, however, said that he was still pursuing disciplinary action against the daily even as he called off the boycott.

Raila said Azimio had filed a complaint with the Media Council of Kenya (MCK), accusing the Star newspaper of being biased.

"Following consultations with stakeholders, we have agreed to call off our boycott of the Star Newspaper. Instead, we have filed a complaint with the Media Council of Kenya on the paper's biases," Raila said.

Raila's u-turn on the Star newspaper boycott comes after the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and MCK condemned his call to supporters to boycott the daily.

In a statement to newsrooms, KUJ Secretary General Eric Oduor said the decision was undermining the freedom and the independence of the media in Kenya.

"This is very unfortunate, with the remarks coming from a leader who understands the importance of a free and independent press in promoting good governance and transparency in public process, which he is fighting for," Oduor said.

He further stated that the decision will endanger the lives of The Star newspaper journalists who will be targeted by Azimio supporters.

"The boycott call and derogatory remarks, do not only puncture the independence of the media but put at risk the lives of journalists working with the Star newspapers who will soon become victims of assault by overzealous Azimio supporters all over the country.

"We call upon Mr. Odinga and Azimio La Umoja fraternity to respect the freedom of the media and use appropriate channels to file complaints if the actions of journalists violate Code of Conduct for Practice of Journalism in Kenya," he said.

Oduor added: "Mr Odinga as a leader must desist from making statements that will set up men and women who are working under very difficult environment to check the government and all leaders holding various positions in the country for the common good of the Kenyan society."

On his part, MCK CEO David Omwoyo said Raila's remarks are part of efforts to manipulate public opinion and limit freedom of the press, which are both fundamental components of a healthy democracy.

Mother of all demos

Separately, Raila while addressing the media on Thursday urged his supporters to turn up in large numbers for the upcoming protests on Monday which he termed as the 'mother of all demonstrations'.

"Finally, we call upon all our patriotic members to come out in large numbers on Monday 27, 2023, in Nairobi for the mother of all demonstrations and to do so peacefully," Raila said.

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