Journalists in Kenya took to the streets of Mombasa on Wednesday to protest against police intimidation and harassment, and demanded that their rights to perform their jobs be respected, Berlin-based Deutsche Welle (DW) and local media reports said.
Fed-up with continuous threats, assaults directed towards the media and mysterious deaths, the protestors – men and women – carried placards written “journalists lives matter”, “a free and responsible press is non-negotiable”, “the institution is my press card”, the Star newspaper reported.
Journalists in Nairobi held a similar protest at the beginning of September after two journalists were killed in unclear circumstances, DW said.
Despite boasting the continent’s fifth-largest economy, Kenya has a poor human rights record and one of the most brutal police forces in Africa.
Human rights activists, opposition politicians and critical journalists are often targeted by security forces and hitmen, as the ruling party seeks to stifle any form of criticism of its failed policies and massive corruption.
Six journalists have died under mysterious circumstances in Mombasa since 1998. The latest incident was the killing – possibly by poisoning – of Standard Group journalist Joseph Masha, after holding a meeting with a senior politician.
“Journalism is a profession and not a crime. We journalists will continue doing our part and we don’t want to be threatened anymore,” George Otieno, a reporter from Baraka FM in Mombasa, was quoted by DW as saying.
(Source: DW, the Star. Additional reporting and editing by Issa Sikiti)
Photo: Kenya journalists protesting in the city of Mombasa. credit Elkana Jacob/the Star