Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Kenyan Journos Come Under Threat From Authorities"

By Dr Rabin Man Shakya

Press freedom is the cornerstone of democracy. It is a hallmark of democracy. Democracy cannot sustain itself without a free press, while press freedom  can be guaranteed only in a democratic dispensation.

Thus press freedom and democracy are symbiosis to each other as one cannot function and flourish in the absence of the other.Speaking of the press freedom, my attention was grabbed  by a news story about Kenya in the New York Times recently.

Kenya is  among a few countries in Africa which can boast of a free media. I have never been to Kenya, but I have come across  a number of Kenyans, both journalists as well as non-journalists. I will write about them in a separate blog story.

Kenya is in the international headlines ever since the last month's Westgate mall attack. But there was a different news story in the New York Times about Kenya on October 25, 2013, though it still was related to the Westgate mall attack.

The New York Times news story under the headline "Kenya assails coverage of an attack on a mall" detailed about how Kenyan journalists came under threat this week from the Kenyan authorities over their coverage of last month's Westgate mall attack, after video suggesting possible looting by Kenyan forces was broadcast on national TV.

NYT news story went on to say: "Kenya's criminal-investigations police unit on Thursday summoned three senior Kenyan media figures involved with a popular investigative TV news program. It ran an hour long special last week, and again this week, raising questions about the government's response to the siege, with footage of Kenyan security agents seemingly looking through mall merchandise while searching for th attackers who stormed the mall and killed more than 60 people."

According to the NYT story, Kenya's inspector general, David Kimaiyo, lashed out more broadly at news coverage of the investigation into the Westgate attack, claiming that the news reports were meant to provoke and incite negative opinions of the country's security forces.

The New York Times story added: " The Committee to Protect Journalists described Wednesday's police statement and Thursday's summoning of the media figures as the kind of 'forced patriotism' that was  'potentially a sign of downward spiral of press freedom' in Kenya."

Oh, well, what can I say, except that, threats and intimidation to journalists, wherever in the world, is outrageous and unacceptable.

No comments:

Post a Comment