Media / Watchdog
Thursday, 08 Sep 2016 19:58 EAT
Kenyan journalists today held peaceful demonstration and presented a petition to top government officials in protest over physical assault, intimidation and death threats they face in the line of duty.
The mainly Nairobi-based journalists marched from Freedom Corner at Uhuru Park to the office of the of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko at the NSSF Building in Nairobi in a bid to present their petition on the delay in concluding of cases affecting journalists.
The petitions were to be presented to DPP, the Office of the Inspector General of the Police and the Clerk of the National Assembly on the increased cases of journalists being physically assaulted and the perpetrators walking free.
As they marched, the journalists waved banners with the hashtag #Journalistsundersiege for the world to see the kind of conditions they are working under and created a lot of traffic snarl up on the roads.
On reaching the DPP’s office they were blocked from accessing the premises by the security officers at the entrance and after confrontations the journalists finally made their way in to present their petition to DPP Tobiko as they also sought address from him as to why no case of assault on journalists has been presented to court. They were, however barred from accessing his office and asked to select five representatives to present their petition to Mr. Tobiko.
The DPP requested to hold a press briefing with the journalists at his office but they refused saying he should come down to address them.
“We are not here for a press briefing we are here to present our petition and to enquire why it is taking centuries to investigate cases of assault on journalists. Mr. Tobiko should come and address us here not in his office,” shouted the journalists as they brought business to a standstill at the NSSF building.
But the DPP declined saying that the journalists were behaving as people at a baraza and he is not in the capacity and position to address baraza’s.
The journalist left to present their petition to the office of the IG Joseph Boinett only to find him out of his office. The Chief of Staff Simon Kiragu took the petition to present to his boss and promised thorough investigations and action against the perpetrators of assault on journalist would be undertaken and urged them to be calm. He asked journalists to be reporting cases of assault or intimidation immediately to the police.
In the petition, the journalists are demanding for conducive working environment and for faster and credible investigations on the cases they have presented. The journalists also requested for media owners to take this issue seriously before the 2017 general elections.
“We are equally concerned that media owners are not taking up this issue with the seriousness it deserves. Media owners and investors must utilize their reach, power and influence to consistently demand for accountability from the state and other office holders,” the petition read in part.
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press