If granted bail on October 30, the TV career of Citizen TV journalist Jacque Maribe will be a cause of concern with the High Court set to rule whether the political reporter and news anchor will be allowed to continue broadcasting if released.
A co-s*****t in the m****r case of former Nation Media employee Monica Kimani, Ms. Maribe was expecting to know her fate on October 24 but new developments meant that the ruling on her bail request was pushed forward leaving her in remand for a further six nights.
Represented by Katwa Kigen, the TV journalist who is currently serving a three month compulsory leave from Citizen TV had requested for bail but the p*********n amended the charge sheet that featured her and her co-accused fiance, Joseph ‘Jowie’ Irungu to include other persons not before the court.
The slight change precipitated a fresh plea taking by the couple, who both denied the charges. But it also necessitated a new hand in the p*********n’s deck that the State duly played.
State prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki argued that the fact that there were other s******s yet to be a******d and arraigned in court meant that if Jowie and Maribe were culpable of the m****r, they could interfere with the s******s. The State also stated that the duo were a flight risk due to the nature of their employment.
Ms. Mwaniki also stated that some of the witnesses were yet to be placed under witness protection, and that investigations were still ongoing.
It was however the objection that if released on bail, Ms. Maribe would use her influence as a broadcaster and journalist to interfere with the case that will also send shock waves across the media industry.
If prevented from carrying out her journalistic duties, it would represent a rare occasion where a newscaster will be barred by the courts from performing their role in the fourth estate outside of the confines of police custody. The rarity of it is however fashioned on the fact that journalists seldom face m****r charges.
It would also be an acknowledgement of the media’s influence over matters of public interest in a case that was already a slippery slope for media houses to cover because of the presence of Ms. Maribe.
The judge handling the case, Justice James Wakiaga has already warned the media against publication of some reports due to its sensitivity and capacity to influence due process in the eyes of the public. The Judge had even, in jest, referred to the media as “the press who love Kenya more than we do” during the proceedings on Wednesday.
On the same day, Migori Governor Okoth Obado, himself a s*****t in a m****r case, was granted Ksh5 million bail that came packaged with stringent measures stringed to it.
If the same applies to Ms. Maribe and she is granted bail on October 30, then it waits to be seen whether one of the stringent measures could be a prohibition from broadcasting. In that, her TV career hangs in the balance.
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