• May 20, 2024
  • Last Update May 20, 2024 3:41 PM
  • Nairobi

Calls to investigate attacks against journalists dominate World Press Freedom Day celebrations

Calls to investigate attacks against journalists dominate World Press Freedom Day celebrations

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By Peter Ochieng

Kenyan journalists today joined their peers across the globe in marking World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), 2024.

The day is marked every May 3 from 1991 to appreciate the important work of journalists and highlight the basic principles of press freedom globally. The day is also used to remember colleagues who get attacked, and unfortunately die in line of duty.

In Kisumu, journalists from various media houses under the banner of Kisumu Journalists’ Network (KJN) celebrated the day during a get together at the Kisumu Media Hub, convened by the Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) and Article 19, among others.

Hadson Araka Matara, KCA chairman in a speech read on his behalf by Kevine Omollo, KCA Nyanza chapter chairman said online and physical attacks against journalists ad media houses by malicious elements, are bent on undermining press freedom.

He urged journalists to use their spaces to not only counter such attacks but also to educate the public about the dangers of these trends.

“As journalists, we must bring out the correct narratives while emphasizing the important place of a free media in the society, the need to defend freedom of expression and scale up demands for access to information,” he said.    

In the lead up to the 2022 general elections, Matara said KCA deployed over 50 monitors across 26 counties which produced a report that captured cases of more than 40 journalists who had been attacked, physically and online, sexually harassed and their equipment damaged.

“KCA reiterates its call to the government to conclusively investigate all cases of violations against the media and journalists, to demonstrate its often-stated commitment to the rule of law and protection of press freedom as enshrined in the constitution,” he stated.

“We call on media sector players, the Civil Society and other progressive Kenyans to work together in pushing back the attempts aimed at shrinking the civic space.  We also call on the international community to join us in calling out violators of press freedom and of other civil liberties. We ask media owners and managers to also treat journalists with dignity and pay them adequate compensation for their work, and promptly,” he added. 

The WPFD theme for 2024 is “A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of Environmental Crisis,” coming at the time floods are wreaking havoc in most parts of the country.

Martin Oloo, Director, Environment and Climate Change at the county government of Kisumu urged members of the press to create awareness on effects of climate change, by correctly quoting relevant sources.

John Oywa, Chief Officer for Information at the county conquered, challenging journalists to cultivate a tradition of trust with their sources.

On her part, KJN chairperson Dorine Magak appealed to media houses that have not been paying journalists, to do so especially at this time when most Kenyans are battling high cost of living.  

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