Journalists attacked, robbed while covering Azimio protests
The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has condemned the attacks directed at local and foreign journalists who were covering the Azimio La Umoja one Kenya Coalition demonstrations.
Through a statement, MCK Chief Executive Officer David Omwoyo described the attack on journalists as a threat to democracy.
Mr Omwoyo’s statement comes after several journalists reported being attacked, their items stolen and stones pelted on vehicles they were using to cover the protests in Nairobi, Kisumu and some towns.
Mr Omwoyo said that police officers attacking journalists undermines press freedom, limits public access to information, violates human rights and can cause physical or psychological harm.
Several journalists were caught in between the protests as they try to capture the updates.
Police and some protestors appeared to target journalists in some instances.
“It is essential that journalists can carry out their work without fear of violence or harassment, and that law enforcement agencies are held accountable for any actions that violate their rights or impede their ability to report on events,” Mr Omwoyo said.
The council says it is monitoring the situation, and will work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure that those responsible for the attacks are held accountable for their actions.
“We commend and stand in solidarity with all journalists who put themselves at risk to report on events and keep the public informed, and we reiterate our commitment to fiercely defend the freedom of the press.”
MCK boss said that demonstrators attacking the media demeans the spirit of mass action as it betrays the foundations of democracy on which it is founded.
He added that organising mass action which starts by attacking the media is defeatist and dangerous to democratic values.
“Journalists play a vital role in providing accurate and timely information to the public, and attacks on them while carrying out their duties are unacceptable…Attacks on journalists during demonstrations are a serious concern and must be condemned by all those who value press freedom and democracy.”
During the demonstrations, NTV reporters, Citizen TV, and the foreign press team were assaulted.