African Press Association

Journalists harassed ahead of crucial Kenya poll

From MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – KENYAN media is under siege from authorities for reporting on sensitive issues ahead of watershed polls set for August.
While Kenyan journalists have borne the brunt of government abuse, the foreign media have also faced reprisals for critical reporting.
Authorities have threatened to ban two foreign journalists for an international media outlet for reporting on alleged police death squads implicated in extrajudicial killings.
Human Rights Watch decried that despite receiving formal complaints from journalists, police have rarely investigated the attacks or threats.
The rights organisation said the violations against media had not been probed since President Uhuru Kenyatta took office in 2013.
“There is no evidence that any security officer or public official has been held accountable for threatening, intimidating, or physically attacking a member of the media in Kenya,” Henry Maina, East Africa rights advocate said.
It is reported between 2013 and 2017, at least two journalists died under circumstances that may have been related to their work.
There were 16 incidents of direct death threats against journalists and bloggers across the country in recent years, and cases in which police arbitrarily arrested, detained, and later released without charge at least 14 journalists and bloggers.
Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy, is set for polls with a likelihood of violence.
There have been claims of vote rigging and inter-party tensions, raising fears of a recurrence of the deadly violence that marred the 2007/08 poll.
As many as 1 400 people were killed and 500 000 displaced.
CAJ News