TUKO editor sentenced to 5 days in jail for failing to comply with court orders

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 4 Oct, 2022 14:52 | 2 mins read
TUKO editor sentenced to five days imprisonment for failing to comply with High Court orders
Image used for illustration purposes. PHOTO/Internet

A TUKO editor has been sentenced to five days in jail after he failed to adhere to court orders.

The orders by Magistrate Eunice Nyutu come after the editor, Didacus Malowa allegedly failed to apologize for publishing a misleading article about the ongoing Ksh226.9 million National Youth Service graft case.

In their defence, TUKO through their lawyer told the court that the publisher was a website and is in no position to be served by the court.

"That's not an entity it's a WebHost …even If we say go serve Tuko.co.ke that not a person…it's a host…it's non-existence entity," the court heard.

They further stated that the editor was traumatized and should be pardoned by the court.

At the same time, the Kenyan Union of Journalists (KUJ) filed an appeal with the High court against the orders seeking to imprison the editor.

The union also filed an application to have the order suspended for 24 hours. The magistrate denied the appeal asking the union to challenge the orders at the High Court.

What happened

The latest development comes after Nyutu ordered the editor to pay a fine of Ksh50,000 or in default six months imprisonment.

The Milimani Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate slapped the editor with the punishment after it emerged that the online news platform wrote a story that caused damage to a prosecution witness who had testified in the case.

TUKO editor sentenced to five days imprisonment for failing to comply with High Court orders
Court gavel. PHOTO/Courtesy

In her ruling, Nyutu said the punishment would act as a deterrent to other journalists, editors and media houses against publishing misleading articles.

Nyutu noted that the story that was published by TUKO had damaged the reputation of the witness.

On September 12, the magistrate summoned TUKO and KBC Managing Editors for writing a misleading story about a prosecution witness who was being cross-examined by the defence.

The summons were issued following a protest by the prosecution counsel who raised a complaint saying the articles had tainted the name of their witness.

But Tuko's editor, Didacus Malowa, while appearing in court, apologized to the court about the story, saying one of their correspondents had given them the story and once they realized the error they pulled down the story.

However, the court said writing a defamatory story was punishable by law and cannot be allowed.

Nyutu has also directed TUKO to publish an apology to the witness on their website and also retract the initial article published.

The magistrate however ordered KBC Managing Editor to appear in court in person on September 28. This is after the magistrate refused to hear the senior editor that had been sent to represent his boss, saying she needs the Managing Editor.

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