MCK says 25 local, foreign journalists attacked during Azimio demos

MCK says 25 local, foreign journalists attacked during Azimio demos

A journalist holds a damaged camera. PHOTO | COURTESY | MCK

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has criticized continued attacks against journalists since the start of the opposition anti-government demonstrations last week.

MCK, in a statement issued on Thursday evening, raised concerns saying that at least 25 journalists have so far been attacked by both the police and protesters since March 20.

The council underscored that this week alone, 20 cases of such violations against pressmen merely doing their jobs were reported on Monday and Thursday.

“March 2023 remains the darkest month for Kenyan media since the clamour for multiparty democracy. We have so far documented 25 cases of attacks on local and foreign journalists at the hands of State and non-State actors since the onset of the demonstrations,” MCK said in the statement.

"On Monday, 27th March 2023, the first day of the demonstrations this week, the Council documented 20 cases of attacks, harassment and arrests. Today the number has risen to 25, with some of those affected suffering serious bodily injuries."

The council highlighted that most incidents affected camerapersons in what it termed as a plot to destroy any evidence of unlawful acts by perpetrators captured on photo/video.

“The most targeted are camerapersons and photographers who have been targeted by the perpetrators of acts of hooliganism and criminality whose interest is to destroy any evidence of their acts captured on camera,” noted MCK.

It therefore cautioned all State and non-State participating in the demonstrations against such acts reiterating that the key role of the press is to inform the public.

“Journalists are not contestants in the current political processes and it is an unwarranted, gross violation of human rights and an impediment to democracy to target them while knowing they have a duty to inform the public on such matters of public interest,” noted MCK CEO David Omwoyo.

The council hence called on relevant investigative bodies to probe the cases, further urging media people to don protective gear and assess different risks before going to the field.

“The council calls upon the DPP to order urgent investigations to end this impunity against journalists. The Media Complaints Commission is legally mandated to handle any grievances against the media and we encourage all to report any complaints to the Commission,” added the statement.

“The Council encourages editors and reporters preparing for assignment to prioritise risk assessment while in the field including boarding politicians’ vehicles and wearing appropriate safety gear for protection.”


Citizen Digital Journalists David Omwoyo MCK Citizen TV Kenya Azimio protests

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