Red flag over rise in crimes against scribes

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) is concerned over the rising cases of crimes against journalists, having recorded more than 30 such incidents across the country in the last six months alone.

MCK deputy chief executive officer Victor Bwire yesterday said the cases reported have come from journalists working across the country ranging from community radio stations to regional and national media houses, irrespective of how they do their work.

Similarly, he termed it as unacceptable that in the history of the country, no person has ever been charged with cases where journalists have been involved even with obvious indications that people who did these things are known.

And as the International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI) was celebrated yesterday, Bwire said media stakeholders including State agencies, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), media houses and support groups should come together in demanding action against perpetrators and people harassing scribes.

“We have noted with concern the continued attacks against journalists and media houses across the country both before and during the electioneering period. It is a very sad moment that members of the fourth estate can be attacked in this era by people known to us.

It is indeed the lowest moment in the freedom of expression if journalists can be attacked in full glare of cameras and no action is taken against such individuals,” said Bwire.

Describing the attack of journalists as a sad state of affair, the MCK official also said their intimidation and affront press freedom is affecting the quality of information Kenyans are getting.

He said the relevant authorities should come together to join the initiative by media working group to form a sub-sector team and ask the government to designate a person within the ministries of Information or Interior who can directly deal with matters relating to press freedoms violations and subsequently expedite the issue of investigation arrest and prosecution of perpetrators.

“While the attacks on journalists Francis Gachuri (Citizen TV) and Jane Gatwiri (NTV) during the National Super Alliance (Nasa) briefing is the latest of incidences, we have noted since April continued targeted attacks against journalists, media houses and intimidation of editors and reporters against doing some particular stories,” he added.

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