Assaulting any journalist today is just so yesterday
Kenya Editors Guild has very sober-minded professionals that do not thrive in needless publicity stunts and when they talk, people stand up and listen. We hope Commissioner of Prisons Isaiah Osugo’ people hear this: Stop killing the messenger.
His charges are taxpayer-funded defenders of the peace and are supposed to be paragons of virtue. This last, they may not be, but it would be an added advantage since they are custodians of the correctional and rehabilitation centres called Kenya Prisons Service.
When reportedly inebriated prison warders point guns menacingly at journalists, whose only tools of trade are the less threatening pen, pencil, notepad, camera and microphone, there is a clear disconnect.
The same reporters the Eldoret warder shot at are the ones that daily put forward their case for prison reform, salary review, more humane working conditions, and better terms of service. How then can these conveyors and managers of information be the enemy when warders are caught napping?
And in the case of one provincial administrator exposed by the public with a signed document spiriting food out of the mouths of starving Kenyans, who should be the target of abuse and discipline. Is freedom of the Press only welcome when only ‘nice’ stories are written about people and institutions?
Does this intolerance explain the fact that last year, Kenya shared position 70 with Benin, Bulgaria, Comoros and Greece on the Press Freedom Barometer?
Journalists merely convey information to either shape or shake society by communicating through various electronic media and published material. In a way, they can be considered revolutionaries.
In the book Management Made Easy (February 2000) Chander Mehra writes: “I dedicate this to the Perfect Manager, Mahatma Gandhi, the little naked kaffir who meticulously managed a revolution, with dedication and fortitude and caused the sun to set on the British Empire.”
How are journalists going to change societies if they have to compete with gun-toting State agents and overbearing self-seekers? Just let these little kaffirs do their job.
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