British envoy Jane Marriot lauds Citizen TV’s Waihiga Mwaura
British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot has lauded Citizen TV’s Waihiga Mwaura for holding public officials to account.
Speaking during the Kenya Editors’ Guild Press Club in Nairobi, the envoy said Waihiga asks difficult questions, which is what journalists are tasked to do.
“You will all recall the fire in March that started in Loldaiga Conservancy. It was not our best moment. We invited Waihiga to my house, and he put me through my paces. It was uncomfortable. He was asking difficult questions. It was not the most enjoyable interview I have ever done in my life.
“But I completely defend Waihiga’s right, and your collective right, to ask those questions and hold us to account. That is what the media is there to do, and we’re all better for it,” she said, clarifying that no elephants were killed.
According to the British envoy, Kenya is fortunate to have a vibrant, diverse media, with well-trained journalists, determined to get to the truth.
She added that some of the exposés which have come to light during the COVID-19 pandemic have illuminated challenges that the media fraternity faces.
The envoy further opined that journalists have a huge assignment in the next 18 months, as Kenya approaches a referendum and an election, where citizens need to be informed on the issues as well as the politics.
“We need an independent and sustainable media, with laws, policies and professionals to serve society. We need investigative journalists who spend days – weeks, months – getting to the real heart of stories,” she said.
The envoy reiterated that Kenya needs a media that holds power in all its forms — Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, business, civil society, individuals, your own bosses — to account.
Additionally, she said journalists need to be safe in their endeavour, working without fear of interference.
“A free press forms a foundation for economic prosperity, for social development, for more open and inclusive societies. The open exchange of information allows economies to flourish,” Marriot said.
Waihiga Mwaura hosts the News Night show on Citizen TV every Tuesday.
He recently won the Investigative Reporting Award for the Mara Heist story, one of most explosive corruption exposes in Kenya.
“I salute the four brave #MaraHeist whistleblowers & at Citizen TV, Linus Kaikai, Jamila Mohamed, Nel Aruya, Asha Mwilu and Debunk Media,” he said on Twitter.
The Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) ceremony was organised by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK).