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Posted by African Press International on May 2, 2013

  • By Dickens Wasonga,

Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) joined the media fraternity in Kenya, the Eastern African Region and globally in marking the 2013 World Press Freedom Day being marked on May 3 with a call for enhanced security and good pay for the scribes.

In a statement released in Nairobi to various media houses KCA said it was concerned that the Kenyan media environment has over the last one year recorded increasing cases of threats to the safety and security of journalists and general disregard for their labor rights.
According to the Association, at least 25 journalists have reported various forms of threats to their security and safety in different parts of the country over the last six months.
Some of these threats have been reported in the media and statements recorded with the police but a number of threats have remained less pronounced but serious enough to undermine the freedom of journalists in the performance of their duties.
The threats have been recorded from security agencies, state officials, political leaders and their supporters, drug traffickers and other actors, in the process creating a climate of fear and intimidation among journalists in the course of their work.
A number of journalists were threatened or treated with hostility during the Tana River Clashes at the Kenya Coast. In Mombasa in late March this year, a journalist with the Star Newspaper, Bernard Wesonga died under circumstances which require further investigations.
Another journalist with the Star Newspaper Habil Onyango was beaten up and his camera confiscated by security forces during the March General Elections in Homabay in Western Kenya while a number of his colleagues in both Homabay and Migori towns in the region also reported various forms of threats in the last quarter of this year.
A number of journalists in North Rift have for some time now been under threat and active surveillance of shadowy groups over the media coverage of the 2007-8 Post Election Violence and subsequent reporting of International Criminal Court (ICC) related cases and proceedings.
There have been renewed threats to some of the journalists in that region after the March 4, General Elections following the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as president and William Ruto as his deputy. The two are currently facing charges at the ICC and the earlier threats were related to their cases.
KCA urges the Uhuru-Ruto government to guarantee the safety and security of all the journalists who may have reported or will continue to report on the ICC cases and to take urgent measures to investigate any threats, both past and present against the journalists, and deter any overzealous supporters who may take advantage of their being in power to intimidate journalists.
Investigative reporters, KTN’s Mohammed Ali and John Allan Namu have recently received death threats following an exposé on the station which showed a possible foul play in the death of former internal security minister and his deputy George Saitoti and Orwa Ojode respectively.
A reporter with Radio Jambo in Western Province, Oti Oteba, was beaten up by supporters of a local politician. The same youths had also targeted a local reporter with the Star John Nalianya who escaped the beating by hiding in a nearby restaurant. These are not the only cases.
KCA is concerned that Media employers in Kenya have consistently disregarded labour laws in their employment of journalists, in the process undermining their dignity as workers and their capacity to do their work.
Most journalists, both in the newsrooms and the field, are not offered living wages and insurance cover even when covering conflicts. Many are not paid at all despite their valuable contribution, making them vulnerable to corruption and other forms of inducements.
During the last General Elections, a number of media houses either sent their journalists or newly engaged ones on assignment to different parts of the country with minimal or no facilitation, which resulted in frustrations and indignity.
Through its chairman, Mr. Oloo Janak KCA called on the Kenyan media owners and employers to begin to take greater responsibility for the journalists they engage, whether on temporary or permanent basis and stop the ongoing wanton exploitation and abuse of journalists as workers.
He said they should immediately implement the 14 % wage increase awarded by the president during the Labour Day on May 1.
Oloo also called on the National Government and the newly inaugurated County Governments to respect the country’s constitution and International charters with regard to media freedom and access to information to enable journalists discharge their important duty of information dissemination and education to the communities.

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Kenya: KCA Calls for Swift and thorough probe into journalist’s death

Posted by African Press International on April 3, 2013


Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) is shocked by the sudden death of Star Newspaper Reporter Bernard Ochieng Wesonga, who was found dead in his house in the Coastal City of Mombasa on Sunday.

KCA calls on the police to swiftly investigate the death of the journalist and to bring those who may be culpable to death, given the suspicious circumstances of his death.

Wesonga’s body was reportedly discovered by his room –mate, Eric Onyango, with blood oozing from his nose and mouth in their Kachonjo Estate in Tudor in Mombasa around on Sunday.

Wesonga, a young journalist, was a committed member of KCA and has been one of 20 journalists currently under the association’s journalists’ mentorship project in the Coast Region on capacity building for investigative reporting.

It would be important for the police to investigate claims that he recently received threats in relation to a story he wrote on corruption.

Many journalists have recently faced threats, both related to the just conclude Elections and on corruption and it would be important that the investigations re-assure journalists of their safety and security.




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