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Summons of Journalists to appear before Parliamentary Committee

SUMMONS OF JOURNALISTS TO APPEAR BEFORE A PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights makes this statement to express its concern at the summons directed to two People Daily journalists, who are members of the Kenya Parliamentary Journalists Association (KPJA) during a Parliamentary debate yesterday. 
The summoning of the two journalists before the Parliamentary Committee on Powers and Privileges and specifically the public calling out of their names on the floor of Parliament instead of their respective publisher(s) exposes them to grave danger and compromises their right to safety and security.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights takes exception to the stance taken to press the two journalists to reveal their sources in respect to the published story. The Commission urges the Speaker of the National Assembly and Parliament to note the sacrosanct nature of journalists’ sources and stop pressing the disclosure of journalists’ sources. Media freedoms all over the world are premised on the protection of news sources. 

The Commission calls upon the Parliament leadership to use clear procedures of summons while ensuring that the rights of the two journalists are respected pursuant to Article 10 of the Constitution on transparency in governance. 
Given the foregoing the Commission urges the Speaker of the National Assembly to take all measures to protect the rights of the two journalists and particularly to ensure their Parliamentary privileges are retained and respected pursuant to Article 21 of the Constitution in which Parliament has a duty to observe, respect, protect, promote and fulfil fundamental rights and freedoms.
 
Kagwiria Mbogori
Chairperson
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

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