Monday evening’s botched abduction of Nation Media Group reporter Barack Oduor and murder of Rongo University second-year student Sharon Otieno who had also been kidnapped in the same incident is a sad reminder of an emerging trend targeting journalists in their line of duty.
Administration Police officers and goons guarding a privately-owned hotel under construction in Mombasa recently viciously attacked and arrested Nation journalists Laban Walloga and Karim Rajan as they covered a beach land grab in Shanzu.
The latest incident involving Mr Oduor, who escaped death narrowly with serious injuries and the killing of Ms Otieno in cold blood, should not go unpunished.
Past cases involving atrocities against media freedom have mostly been swept under the carpet, especially those involving powerful government officials. This has served to embolden perpetrators of impunity. The police, through government spokesman Eric Kiraithe, have promised to bring the criminals to book.
Detectives have already arrested Migori governor Okoth Obado’s personal assistant. The governor has distanced himself from the incident.
We welcome the move by the Director of Criminal Investigations to dispatch detectives to follow up on the case. The police must ensure that Mr Oduor, who is a key witness, is well protected. On our part, we shall continue doing our job without fear or favour. And for those who attack the messenger, let them know that media freedom is not negotiable.