October 23rd 2017

Media / Watchdog

'Standard' pulls down 'fake' Odinga article from website, after print edition sold out

Rosemary was admitted at Nairobi Hospital for nearly a week before being flown to South Africa, where she is currently receiving treatment. The Standard's article carried what the paper alleged to be a discussion with the Odingas about Rosemary's health.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 05 Mar 2017 17:39 EAT

A snapshot of the Sunday Standard's front page.

The Sunday Standard has pulled down its main headline article from the website after it emerged that the story was 'fake'. The article, "Why I fear for my daughter", was carried in the print edition's front page and was reported to have helped the paper attain maximum sales, as it gave readers what the paper passed as peeks into the Raila Odinga family's worries about the former prime minister's daughter Rosemary's health problems.

Rosemary was admitted at Nairobi Hospital for nearly a week before being flown to South Africa last week, and she currently receiving treatment in that country. The Odinga family has not disclosed the cause of her ailment, and the Standard's account from its alleged discussion with the Odingas would be the first time the former PM was speaking publicly about his daughter's health status.

The story delved into details about Rosemary's condition, reporting that she had suffered a mild stroke while in South Afica. It carried assertions allegedly from Mr Odinga, indicating that the Odinga family would ask Rosemary to opt out of elective politics, part of the family's anxiety after having lost Rosemary's brother Fidel just two years ago.

The article was the most read on the paper's website from last night, having been written and edited under two headlines, Why I fear for my daughter and Why Raila is worried about his daughter.

Below is a press statement from Mr Odinga's spokesman Dennis Onyango disowning the article.

FABRICATIONS BY THE SUNDAY STANDARD ON ROSEMARY ODINGA’S HEALTH:

Ida and Raila Odinga are horrified by the lead story on today's Sunday Standard by the title "Why I fear for my daughter". The story is a fraudulent exercise of journalism which attempts to pass fictitious suppositions of the writer as truths on the medical condition of Rosemary Odinga and on the position of the Odinga family on matters surrounding her health and career.

Neither Ida nor Hon. Raila Odinga, nor any member of the immediate family of Rosemary Odinga or her doctors, has talked to the Sunday Standard or to any journalist in Kenya or South Africa regarding the matter the writer purports to authoritatively write on. In reality, the "facts" put forward by the writer are totally fictitious and the headlines is a "con", all conjured up by the writer to give the impression that Hon. Raila Odinga had spoken to the writer or to someone in the Standard regarding the health of his daughter.

The Odinga family has repeatedly requested that the privacy of Rosemary be respected at this time of her indisposition and it will be up to Rosemary to decide what matters she will wish to share with the public regarding her medical condition. Today's most unfortunate headline story in the Sunday Standard has caused extreme distress to Rosemary, her parents and her siblings.

It is shameful that the writer has sacrificed common decency and trampled over Rosemary's rights to privacy, both standard requirements of professional journalism, in order to fabricate a headline story for his selfish gratification and sales for the company. Readers must treat this story as a con and know they have been cheated of any money they spent on it.

Ida and Raila Odinga feel that despite their respect for the media and press freedom, this was a malicious affront on their family and they shall be taking legal action on both the writer and the newspaper.

DENNIS ONYANGO

MARCH 5, 2017

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