No chairs for journalists, this is Parliament

The Kenyan Parliament has hit a new low.  Journalists accredited to cover parliamentary proceedings are now forced to sit on the floor as there are no chairs for them.

Today, reporters covering the Justice and Legal Affair Committee sitting had no seats reserved for them, with pictures circulated online, showing the only available chair being taken by a Parliamentary worker. 

The committee was meeting with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and EACC to receive a report on corruption cases. 

But this, the journalist say, is not new. 

“This happens in almost all committees. There are seats but not adequate for the MPs, witnesses and the media,” one of the journalist told Standard Digital anonymously for fear of reprisal.Their tribulations, however, do not end at the long hours often spent standing to cover the proceedings but include no sound amplification devices and poor lighting in some rooms.“The cameramen always end with bad pictures and sound, “another reporter said.

The reporters say committee chairs regularly conduct their businesses in total disregard of the journalists and only express concerns when they are not covered. PHOTO | COURTESY

They say the media relations officer is aware of their troubles and nothing is being done and concern is only shown when they do not provide coverage.

The group now wants Speaker Justin Muturi to address the issue on the floor of the Parliament as it was not the first time they were receiving such treatment. 

After the lot broke the news of a section of Parliamentarians allegedly receiving bribes in the toilets, they were barred from sharing toilets with MPs. 

MPs bashed the media, condemning it for scandalising the House in the disguise of the immunity they enjoy under the powers and privileges standing order and the constitution on the freedom of the press.Journalists have also been barred from sharing the canteen with MPs.

The Kenya Parliamentary Journalists Association leadership has confirmed numerous meetings with the Parliamentary leadership on their grievances.

By Hillary Orinde, Standard

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