A Nairobi court, on Monday, September 26, ordered a senior editor with Tuko News to pay a fine of Ksh50,000 or in default six months imprisonment for publishing a misleading article in respect to the ongoing Ksh226.9 million National Youth Service graft case.
Milimani Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Eunice Nyutu 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.
In her ruling, Nyutu said the punishment will 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 defense.
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.