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Hostility to media rampant in counties

By Maureen Odiwuor | May 27th 2015 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Increased hostility against media practitioners is rampant in counties, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Media Council of Kenya (MCK).

CPJ’s East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes said in the past four months, they have received reports of about 20 incidents of harassment and assault against journalists in the country. Mr Rhodes said 80 per cent of all the reported cases happened outside Nairobi, with about one to two in the capital city.

“The level of hostility against journalists is very high at county levels, not necessarily propagated by county officials but also other organs like contractors, those awarded or denied tenders, among others,” he said.

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Rhodes said the hostility was being manifested in form of beatings, kidnappings, threats via phones, malicious legal charges and at times even through murder.

POLITICAL ISSUES

He attributed the hostility against journalists to reporting sensitive political issues and lack of unity in the profession. “Journalists usually find themselves in the middle of a fiasco between two conflicting parties. When they report the matter, the anger is turned against them. They should work in solidarity with their colleagues since this will somehow enhance their security,” he said.

He said MCK is obligated to force media houses to take seriously the security of their reporters on the ground.

Speaking in Kisumu during training on safety and security for journalists, MCK deputy Chief Executive Officer Victor Bwire said the harassment is becoming a serious concern since everybody is throwing their frustrations and inefficiencies at them. “The attacks have been devolved,” he said.

He accused the office of Director of Public Prosecution and the police for treating attacks on journalists casually.


Media Council of Kenya media houses journalists counties
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