Court to rule on journalists’ disclosure of sources

A Nairobi court will next week rule on whether journalists ought to be compelled to disclose sources of their stories.

On Friday, The Standard reporter Evelyn Kwamboka opposed a plea by the State to have her take the witness stand to disclose sources of a court story appearing in The Standard of June 28.

The reporter had been served with summons requiring her to disclose the source of a story she authored on the Bishop Gilbert Deya miracle babies’ saga. According to the published story, one of the miracle babies at the Nest Children’s Home, who is a subject in a pending criminal case, had been given away to a German couple.

The court this week issued summons against the reporter, following an application by the State and a lawyer representing persons facing trial over the miracle babies’ saga. The State and lawyer Odhiambo Wakla on Friday urged the court to compel the journalist to take the witness stand to clarify to the court whether the miracle baby in her story belonged to Deya.

They said it was incumbent on the reporter to assist the court ascertain whether the Deya miracle babies, who are subject of a pending criminal case, were still secured at various children’s homes. The duo also sought the summoning of the proprietor of the children’s Home to testify on circumstances under which a baby was given away. However, through lawyer Crispine Odhiambo, the reporter told a Nairobi trial magistrate, Felix Kombo, it was against journalists’ ethics and code of conduct to reveal sources of information given to them in confidence.

And, in a new twist, lawyer Auta for Nest Children’s Home told the court that a miracle baby in their custody had been given out to a Germany couple only for purposes of medical attention. The lawyer said the baby was not “a Deya but an Odera”, and had been given out under an “agreement of attachment” between the children’s home and a foreign couple.

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The Standard, Kenya
July 22, 2006
Nyakundi Nyamboga

Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday July 23, 2006.
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