Kenya security forces harass, detain journalists reporting on election violence

A New York-based media watchdog has accused security forces in Kenya of harassing and detaining journalists reporting on post-election violence in the country.

More than 20 people have been shot dead allegedly by security forces in this East African nation after incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner of the presidential election ahead of Raila Odinga. Odinga, who claimed that the poll was rigged, said he would contest the elections’ results victory at the Supreme Court.

At least 10 journalists covering this violence were assaulted or harassed by security forces, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said this week.

CPJ, which spoke to these journalists, also said that a number of journalists were intimidated by security forces during the pre-election campaign period.

“Journalists in Kenya must be permitted to report without fear of violence or hindrance from security forces or anyone else,” CPJ Africa programme coordinator Angela Quintal said in a statement.

“Kenyan authorities should make sure that these cases are credibly investigated to make clear that journalists cannot be harassed with impunity and that the public has a right to information from a wide variety of sources,” Quintal added, urging a reform of Kenya’s Firearms Act to lower the barriers on journalists’ ability to wear protective gear.

Photo credit The Guardian UK/Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images

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