By ALLY JAMAH
As the Standard Group marked five years since the infamous raid on its premises by State agents, journalists have been urged to proactively defend media freedom.
In a video conference at the US Embassy in Nairobi on Wednesday with a panel of experts and journalists from ten African countries, Kenyan journalists were told to guard against abuse on media freedom.
Organised by the African Regional Media Hub and the Free African Media, the discussions centred on media freedom and democracy in Africa.
"The Constitution may have very good things to say on media freedom, but it is the work of journalists to ensure the freedoms are a reality. They need to challenge attempts to silence the media," said Scott Baldauf, the Africa Bureau Chief of the Christian Science Monitor, a US publication.
Speaking from Johannesburg, South Africa, the American journalist said for government to respect the freedoms of the Press, they must be under systematic pressure to live by the principles of a free press.
Head of Conflict Prevention Research at the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa Francis Ikome said new media like blogs, Facebook and Twitter were playing a significant role in extending the frontiers of democracy in Africa.
"Protests in Egypt and other countries in the Arab world showed how powerful the social media is in boosting democracy and rolling back authoritarian regimes. Their penetration is still low in Sub-Saharan Africa, but we will see improvements," he said.
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