Moses Kuria loses bid to bar media from hate speech case
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has lost a bid to bar the media from covering a criminal case facing him at the chief magistrate’s court in Nairobi.
The MP had asked the court to exclude the media from proceedings in a case in which he is charged with incitement to violence, hate speech and ethnic contempt arising from offensive messages he posted on his Facebook page.
He had cried foul saying he was apprehensive that the media may influence the outcome of his trial “having been misreported and misquoted in earlier utterances.”
While dismissing Mr Kuria’s request, principal magistrate Therresa Nyangena instead praised the good work of the media.
She argued that the media is the only express avenue of accessing information and that it “is one of the most effective means of disseminating information in view of the fact that majority of Kenyans are now literate and have access to both print and electronic media.”
But she was quick to add that in saying so, it must be noted that she was not affirming that the “media is faultless but that it must be controlled and regulated in accordance with laid down procedures.
“Barring the media from covering court proceedings where there is no proof of vulnerability of witnesses, threat to national security, public order, morality or that the security of the accused person is compromised would be in breach of the constitution since that would not depict that we are in an open, free and democratic society,” the magistrate said.
JUDICIARY IS IMPARTIAL
She said that Mr Kuria’s rights would neither be infringed nor would barring the media help “remedy the mistreatment allegedly visited on him.”
Ms Nyangena said that the judiciary is impartial of external influence and does not rely on rumours or reports in the media to make decisions.
“The court cannot go fishing for evidence from the media so as to convict or acquit the accused…the accused should rest assured that he is innocent until proven guilty and that the media has no judicial authority to adjudicate on disputes hence it cannot charge and convict an individual,” she said.
Mr Kuria returns to court on July 24 to counter a request by the Director of Public Prosecutions to have his bond terms cancelled.