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Threats against journalists in Kenya still a concern

Threats against Journalists perpetrated by the state in the country have now moved from the physical attacks to the legal attacks, this is according to Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) secretary general Eric Oduor.

Addressing media stakeholders during the project launch of effective protection for Journalists legal safety in Kenya today, Oduor intimated that unlike in the past where state actors physically or verbally threatened journalists they have found a way where they deal with journalists indirectly by coming up with laws that infringe on the freedom of the media.

“Most governments in Africa have realized that what they can do now instead of using police they are now strengthening laws so that journalists do not operate freely. Here in Kenya 20 pieces of legislation targeting media have been passed,” he said.

On his part KUJ’s legal officer Ibrahim Oduor cited 20 pieces of legislation that regulates the media in the country since the passage of the 2010 constitution.

He quoted the Kenya Information and Communication act, Computer Misuse and cybercrime act, Defamation act, Business and newspaper act among other pieces of legislation.

Ibrahim alleged that the government delved into this so as to avoid complains and street demos from journalists.

He also warned that these legal threats are negatively affecting journalists in that they can’t perform to their optimum.

“We have got examples where journalists get arrested and charged under the computer misuse and cybercrime act for publishing an article that is not favorable to the state, “he added.

Too much accreditation was also mentioned as a key challenge facing journalists in the country. The stakeholders present lamented that the layers and layers of accreditation as is being witnessed in the accreditation of journalists covering the August 9th 2022 general election was hampering the journalists work.

On her part UNESCO Regional Advisor for Communication and Information in Africa Ms. Misako ITO reiterated the organizations commitment in supporting media freedom through capacity building and trainings.

The effective protection for Journalists legal safety in Kenya project was organized by KUJ and UNESCO.