The freedom of the press is being called into question after a Standard newspaper journalist was arrested and allegedly brutalized for inciting the public through his articles.
Isaiah Gwengi, a Bondo correspondent with the newspaper, was arrested at his home on Wednesday night by Quick Response Team officers.
They said Gwengi was being apprehended in connection to an altercation on Tuesday evening between residents and members of the police. Rights activist Rodgers Ochieng’ was also taken into custody.
Siaya county AP commandant, Ben Mandere, confirmed the arrests made by the area commanding officer identified only as Ongoro, who is in-charge of the Usenge unit.
Mandere said he was told the two had been inciting members of the public to turn against police with Gwengi having written several negative stories about the QRT, portraying it as inept and corrupt.
The police chief said the two men will probably be charged with incitement to violence. He also refuted claims that they were assaulted or severely injured in police custody.
The media council has meanwhile, stepped in and called on IG Joseph Boinnet to immediately arrest the QRT police officers involved in the alleged Standard newspaper journalist’s assault.
Media Council of Kenya chairman, Charles Kerich, said the body will follow the case until justice is served since such incidents have become popular.
“This is unacceptable. As we head to the election, brutality will not be condoned. Police officers attached to the QRT must face the full force of the law.”
Kerich went on to say that the arrested duo reported early in the year that their lives were in danger.
Isaiah Gwengi, in particular, had recorded a statement at Bondo DCIO saying an officer attached to the QRT had threatened him.
Standard Group deputy editorial director, Kipkoech Tanui said the attack was premeditated by the officers.
“If police are daring enough to attack a journalist they know can report the incident, what about an ordinary Kenyan?”