Administration Police officers guarding the Royal Media Services (RMS) have been withdrawn, following a tussle between the company and the National Police Service (NPS) over gun exposé.
This comes a day after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) faulted the media house for doing the story (Guns Galore), that they say was meant to humiliate the service.
In the exposé dubbed “Guns Galore” aired on Sunday night, the station exposed how rogue men in uniform allegedly hire out their guns, uniforms, bulletproof vests, and handcuffs to criminals for as low as Ksh1,000.
“Based on the Code of Conduct for Journalists and the Mass Media, the report therefore failed basic tests of journalistic ethics and standards and was slanted in what seemed to be a deliberate, malicious attempt to discredit and humiliate the National Police Service. We can only conclude therefore, that this is also aimed at creating public pandemonium over the management of the security sector. It was not only false but injurious to the stability of the country. This reporting therefore amounts to abuse of media freedom as stipulated in the Constitution and the Media Act of Kenya, 2013,” said DCI boss George Kinoti.
Kinoti faulted the investigative journalist, Purity Mwambia, for failing to record the side of the story for NPS.
“If the media house were hesitant to approach NPS on this matter it could have approached the Internal Affairs Unit (IOU) or the Independent Policing Oversight Authority POA) which feature a rested and proven Anonymous Reporting and Information System (AR(S) through which external oversight and civilian review of police officers has been male possible,” added Kinoti.
Kinoti said the station’s top officials and the reporter will be summoned to record statements over the matter.
“We would want to note that none of the guns submitted by Royal Media Services belong to the National Police Service. The attempts to tarnish the entire service are contemptuous and undermine the efforts made by over 100,000 police officers who work day and night to keep the country safe,” he added.
In the exposé, Mwambia demonstrated how it was easy to acquire handcuffs for as little as Ksh1,000 while guns cost up to Ksh50,000.
The Media Council of Kenya has already faulted Kinoti for summoning Royal Media Services editorial bosses to record a statement over the same.
“While the Council recognizes the role of the DCI, it expects that the process is geared towards investigating the matter and not violating freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information as provided in the Constitution in articles 33, 34, 35 and the Media Council Act 2013,” the CEO said.
“In this case where the media has exposed weaknesses among some elements in the National Police Service, natural justice demands the same Service cannot then purport to investigate or otherwise summon the journalists. Instead, efforts should be put toward finding out how their members are providing civilians with guns, bullets, uniforms and handcuffs.”