- Journalists experienced a tough moment while covering the requiem mass of late President Daniel Arap Moi at Nyayo Stadium on Tuesday, February 11.
A report published by People Daily on Wednesday, February 12, stated that one of their journalists was reportedly arrested after he captured police unleashing dogs on the anxious crowd locked out of the venue.
The scribe was locked up at Nyayo Stadium Police Station for two hours after he was roughed up by the security personnel.
“An officer accused me of filming colleagues who were on duty and efforts to identify myself fell on deaf ears,” the scribe lamented.
He further claimed that the police took away his accreditation badge and phone before locking him up as his colleagues sympathised with him from a distance.
“We are forced to scavenge for news. Media freedom is a mirage even with several laws and regulations to protect it,” another journalist cried out.
Thousands of Kenyans had flocked the stadium to pay their last respects to Moi, and to avert a stampede, police were forced to control the multitude.
The crowd which had been locked out of the stadium gathered and reportedly chanted ‘Maziwa ya Nyayo‘ while trying to force their way into the venue.
Without any other way to follow the event, they sang songs reminiscing Moi’s good times until 2 p.m. when the event wound up.
On Tuesday evening, February 10, Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna was forced to change tune on media coverage of Moi’s requiem mass.
In a letter earlier signed by Oguna, he had stated that only a few media houses would be allowed to cover the service, raising an uproar from a section of journalists.
“Only four accredited production units to cover the proceedings. These production units are; KTN, KBC, Ministry of Defence and the joint production team. It is only the crew and equipment of the four production units that shall be allowed into Nyayo National Stadium,” read an excerpt in the letter.
This irked journalists who questioned the motive behind the event, forcing Oguna to retract his statement.
“Clarification: Media coverage at the national prayer service for former President Moi – Citizen TV, NTV, K24 TV to shoot,” Oguna clarified on his Twitter page.