The council gave the publisher until Friday to remove the image, that shows two dead men slumped over a table at a restaurant or risk revocation of work permits of its journalists working in Kenya.
In a statement, the media regulatory body said that by publishing the sensitive images, the publisher had violated clauses 10 (2), 15 (1) and 21 (3) of Section 45 of the Media Council Act of 2013 that stipulates ethical reporting of grief and sensitive matters.
“It is unfortunate that your publication, without due respect to the victims, families of the victims and Kenyans in general, chose to publish images that show victims of the terror attack,” the statement read.
MCK noted that despite covering other such attacks elsewhere in the world, the publisher has never used bullet-ridden photos of victims.
The statement further said: “This truly brings into question why the Dusit attack publication was handled so recklessly without due regard to professionalism in reporting.”
In a response, NYT’s Associate Managing Editor for Standards Mr Phil Corbett said that the decision to publish the images was not made “by our main reporter in Nairobi Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura or by any New York Times journalists on the scene in Nairobi.”
Kenyans on Twitter had on Wednesday called for the resignation and deportation of Miss Tamura, who is the incoming East Africa bureau chief, for authorising the publication of the said images.
Mr Corbett added that in recent years, NYT “editors have made hard choices and published similar painful photos” in different situations including shootings in New York, terror attacks in London and wars in Syria and Yemen.
Corbett said: “…we are very sympathetic to the pain of those affected in Nairobi, and we understand that many reasonable people disagree with our decision to publish these photos. But I hope to assure you that we take this responsibility seriously, and are guided by our mission to help readers see and understand the world.
Even after sustained calls to pull down the images, the publisher defended its action, insisting that “this is the same approach we take worldwide whenever such events occur”. The publisher also said that it balances the need for sensitivity for respect with its mission of showing the reality of the happenings.
MCK disagrees, saying that the images amounted to “glorifying” and “parading” the ‘success’ of the terrorists, terming them as “distasteful” and “disrespectful” to those affected by the tragedy.
The image in dispute showed bloodied victims of the terror attack writhing in agony. Another image had dead victims of the attack at a restaurant in the hotel complex.
These image published Tuesday evening sparked off an online backlash immediately after being published on Tuesday evening, with some readers asking the publisher to pull them down.