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Raila demands the release of ‘Nation’ journalist

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has demanded for the unconditional release of Nation journalist John Ngirachu.

The former Prime Minister also asked prominent lawyers James Orengo and Paul Mwangi to represent Ngirachu for free.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening after the arrest of Ngirachu, a senior editor with the Nation Media Group, Odinga also asked the Government to respect the law of journalists protecting their sources of information.

Mr Ngirachu was arrested outside Professional Centre on Tuesday evening and reportedly driven to the CID headquarters along Kiambu Road.

“I demand that the young man be freed immediately to pursue his career. Kenya has to move forward and close the chapter of repression. I advise Government to respect timeless tradition that journalists are duty bound to protect the source of information,” Mr Odinga said in his statement.

MEDIA FREEDOM

Media agencies among them The Media Council of Kenya, Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Parliamentary Journalists Association also faulted the move.

The Media Council condemned the arrest of Mr Ngirachu stating that complains against journalists should be channeled through the institution.

“MCK is concerned with the increasing number of journalists facing threats and  harassment in the course of duty in Kenya. Harassing journalists is a hindrance to the freedom of the media and expression as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya,” read tweets through the council’s official Twitter account.

The Kenya Union of Journalist’s Secretary Edwin Oduor said in his statement that this “is a sad day for the media following continued assault and violation of the media by the Jubilee administration.”

A statement from the Kenya Parliamentary Journalists Association signed by the Secretary General also condemned the move adding that “The Association flags Ngirachu’s arrest as an infringement to media freedom and will not watch as the gains made are being eroded.

We also demand an apology from the police and specifically the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery for infringing the freedom of journalists who cover parliament.”

Kenyans on social media meanwhile expressed shock and disappointment over the arrest and immediately coined the hashtag, #FreeNgirahu which became the top trend within hours.