Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga speaking at a law student’s fete held at Strathmore University, where he was attending The Platform Magazine’s C.B Madan awards on Wednesday 9, 2015.
BY THOMAS KARIUKI
Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga has urged law students to support and take up legal journalism.
He says that such initiatives will help nurture a patriotic culture of people’s courts.
However the CJ noted that woeful reporting on court decisions as well as reporting court proceedings is a great challenge.
“In most instances journalists emphasize on who has won and who has lost in a case. What is important in most of the cases that reach the superior courts are the principles laid down beyond the immediate interest of parties litigating,” Dr Mutunga said.
CJ Mutunga was speaking at a law students fete held at Strathmore University, where he was attending The Platform Magazine’s C.B Madan awards.
He said that objective reporting will anchor public participation in judicial processes, and speaks for the need to deal with the ‘brown envelope syndrome’ in the media. (A situation where cartels influence various stories in media outlets through bribery)
Dr Mutunga also suggested that there be a court reporting guild that will ensure “professionalism and independence of journalists from media owners who exert undue influence on journalists.”
“Probably, this can be developed to a level where we would have annual practicing certificates issued to those engaged in court reporting that ensures a regulatory regime that upholds minimum standards of ethics and competence,” he said.
Retired Judge John Michael Khamoni received the 2015 C.B Madan Award.
Recalling the struggle to award the judge in 1999, CJ Mutunga noted that after Kenya Law Society nominated Judge Khamoni for its award of distinguished service in the administration of justice the then Chief Justice the late Z. Chesoni directed as follows.
“Your said letter is returned herewith. The law society is not qualified to assess or evaluate the judges’ performance of their judicial duties. You are requested to note that in future the judiciary will not entertain any approach to issues which ignore protocol,” he said.
In light of that direction all the other judges boycotted the LSK award ceremony and Judge Khamoni was ordered not to receive the award.
CJ Mutunga said that a new era is here and there is a transforming judiciary which appreciates the dedication to serve Kenyans.
LSK thus presented the award of 1999 to Rtd Judge Khamoni whom the CJ said was the face and gait of justice before the 2010 constitution decreed and breathed in new values into the judiciary.