Saturday, May 13, 2006

Full text of press releases following attack on Hope FM

I have just returned after spending much of the day at the Nairobi Pentectostal Church and Hope FM studios, interviewing folks and seeing for myself the extent of the damage after last night's attacks on the radio station. As it turned out, one of the guards killed had previously worked at the university I attended and had been one of my key news sources in my days as the Editor-in-Chief of a student newspaper; I left when they were washing his blood out of the enquiries room he was manning at the time of the attack. Consequently, I'm a little messed up emotionally to do a sober and objective story on this incident (despite the volume of quality info and photos before me from a variety of sources and the interviews I carried out), so I've opted not to write anything about the incident apart from just passing on the following press releases (the ones I could get). 1. FULL TEXT OF PRESS RELEASE FROM HOPE FM MANAGEMENT At around 10:30 pm on Friday 12th May, 2006, 93.3 Hope FM studio was petrol bombed by some masked armed men. After gaining entrance they tied and shot dead one of the guards manning the main gate, and injured two others, who are recuperating in the hospital. They then proceeded to the Hope FM studio and forcefully gained entrance into the studio. After a scuffle with the staff who were on their way out, they fired a shot, switched off the station and petrol bombed the facility. We thank the police, Group 4 Security, Patriotic Guards and the Fire Brigade who arrived immediately in response to the alarm and helped to contain the situation. The relevant government security teams are carrying out investigations. We would like to assure our members and the general public that the station is up and running. The plans to launch national coverage are also on course. We take this opportunity to express our deep felt condolences and sympathy to the family of our guard and wish a quick recovery to the two in hospital. We condemn the taking away of innocent lives and the wanton destruction of private property. We are deeply concerned by a culture of intolerance by those who may not agree with each other especially in the media. Killing the messenger does not and will not kil the message. Although the enemy meant to do evil, it is our conviction that the Lord will turn this evil around for His glory. CHRIST IS THE ANSWER MINISTRIES, 13 MAY, 2006. 2. FULL TEXT OF PRESS RELEASE FROM THE MEDIA OWNERS' ASSOCIATION Media Owners' Association condemns the act of violence against Hope FM, yesterday at 10:30 pm, that caused one death and injuries to innocent people; and we convey our sincere condolences to the family. We ask for people not to speculate on the reason of the attack and request the police and government to speed up investigation and bring to book those who have perpetrated this heinous act. We appeal to all religious leaders in the country to continue praying for the country and preach peace, tolerance, harmony and co-existence as brothers and sisters. We are civilized society and those who have orchestrated this act of thuggery should know they have no place in this country. At this moment, we appeal for calm and understanding among Kenyans. We should not take advantage of this sad event or engage in reckless sensationalism. MOA will continue to advocate the essence of media freedom and responsibility. Signed by: Kanja Waruru, MOA CHAIRPERSON. 13/05/2006 3. FULL TEXT OF PRESS RELEASE FROM THE KENYA UNION OF JOURNALISTS (THE WING LED BY MR. DAVID MATENDE; I SAW THE WING THAT'S LED BY MR. EZEKIEL MUTUA STANDING ALONGSIDE THE MEDIA OWNERS' ASSOCIATION). On behalf of the newly registered officials of the Kenya Union of Journalists, I wish to condemn the attack on the premises of Hope FM, carried out by armed thugs. We in the media are concerned about the rising number of incidents involving affronts on the media. We are further alarmed at the government's failure to act decisively on these cases, some of which its own agent have been behind. Whatever the station did to warrant this attack is immaterial. What concerns us is the way the law is disregarded with impunity. We hereby demand: a). An immediate statement from the Minister for Internal Security on the attack on Hope FM. b). The protection of all media houses and journalists against organized attacks by people who may not be happy with what the media does. c). Repeal of laws that hamper journalists' work including the Official Secrets Act. This Act has led to an intense friction between the desire of the government to control information and the media struggle to inform the public. Should the state fail to act on these demands, we will consider other avenues of making them listen to the media's cries, including organizing a strike. Meanwhile, the Kenya Union of Journalists wishes to congratulate Mr. Ezekiel Oira on his appointment as the Managing Director of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. We also wish to thank the outgoing Managing Director Wachira Waruru for his contribution to professionalising the state broadcaster, including hiring new talent. Mr. Waruru oversaw reforms at KBC that has improved news presentation and brought new programmes to make the station competitive. We wish him well as the MD of the Kenya Film Censorship Board. We hope Mr. Oira will continue the reforms introduced by Mr. Waruru who told the government that KBC will no longer be a propaganda tool, and that the station is there to serve all Kenyans and not just those in power. Thank you. Signed by: David Matende, CHAIRMAN. 13/05/2006

94 Comments:

Blogger Farmgal said...

I am so sorry Jesse..not easy when someone's life is taken away like that. Especially when u knew them...you are in my thoughts and prayers.

5/13/2006 08:38:00 pm  
Blogger UARIDI said...

What a nasty turn of events!!!
God is in control and will bring good out of this mess.

5/13/2006 10:20:00 pm  
Blogger Poi said...

Hi Jesse-
so saddened to read this hope you pull thru it and God rest his soul in peace. Again, sorry for the loss.

5/14/2006 12:33:00 am  
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I realy feel sorry for what happened to my fevourite station. i feel also pitty and sympathy for the guard who lost his life.
i trust that God's message will be enhanced even more through this incident.

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