Nation Media Group (NMG) on Sunday, December 13 announced its withdrawal of coverage of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL).
Sources at the firm’s Twin Tower headquarters told Business Today that journalists across TV, radio, print and digital had been notified not to provide any coverage of the FKFPL, officially known as the Betking Premier League, or the activities of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF).
The row began after Nation journalists were denied entry at the Nyayo Stadium on Saturday, December 12 during Gor Mahia’s match against Ulinzi Stars.
The journalists, who usually enjoy unfettered access to cover top-flight football matches, were barred by Police from accessing the venue. The officers reportedly informed them that they were acting on orders from officials at the Nick Mwendwa-led FKF.
Incensed, NMG declared that the company would not restore cross-platform coverage of the league until normalcy returned in how journalists were treated.
NMG demanded access not just to games but other public engagements by the federation.
NMG Editorial Director Mutuma Mathiu asserted that the group “would settle for nothing less than the upholding of our journalists’ fundamental rights and freedom”.
It isn’t the first instance reported this season of journalists being denied access to top-flight fixtures.
Key figures in Kenyan football have long been accused of working with journalists in leading media houses to push various agendas.
A section of sports journalists claim that the moves to deny specific journalists entry is driven by vendettas.
The NMG decision came as the league continues to be rocked by controversy away from the football pitch.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) on Monday, December 14 confirmed the suspension of Kericho’s Zoo FC and Nairobi-based Mathare United after they failed to endorse the federation’s media rights deal with Startimes.