Deputy President William Ruto has called out a section of the media for biased coverage, stating he will withdraw from this year’s presidential debate over unfair treatment.
The Deputy President said it is a waste of time participating in a presidential debate organized by media houses that have publicly taken sides in the August elections.
“If the presidential debate is being organized by a media house which has taken sides, what moral authority do they have to tell us to participate in the debate?” Ruto posed.
“If you have taken sides then organize presidential debate for the side and don’t expect us to sanitize the process.”
The presidential debate is organized jointly by the Media Owners Association, Media Council of Kenya and Kenya Editors Guild.
The DP spoke barely a day after his UDA advised him to withdraw from the presidential debate to be held in July.
In a statement on Thursday, UDA Communications head Hussein Mohammed said this was due to media bias.
“We have noted with much concern the repeated and continued bias and propaganda in a section of Kenya’s mainstream media in abuse of statutory,” he said.
“Under the current partisan media environment, we have advised our candidate against participating in the presidential debate.”
Speaking after being cleared by the IEBC, Ruto said some media houses are openly biased towards some candidates, especially in how they cover the campaign rallies.
He cited a case where he claimed a section of the media allocates 10 minutes of their prime time news to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance while his Kenya Kwanza alliance only gets one minute in the same bulletin.
“We want to request our friend in the fourth estate, to be fair. So far, we have been treated unfairly by some media houses. We have raised these concerns and through you, chair. We ask for a fair level playground,” Ruto said.
“We request the fourth estate to treat us fairly.”