Envoy lauds Kenya for upholding media freedom

Saturday, August 10th, 2019 00:00 |
Media. Photo/Courtesy

Kenya has been applauded for respecting the freedom of the media in a precedent that has enabled journalists to unearth graft in government and its institutions and also promoting accountability and good governance.

German Ambassador to Kenya Annett Günther, while speaking during the annual regional media summit organised by the Media Council of Kenya in Nairobi on Friday, said reporting about vices in Kenya was better compared to most countries in the world.

“In most countries, all we hear is about journalists being intimidated, defamed and even jailed so as to prevent them from doing their work (objectively) or to influence them,” she said.

Günther’s remarks came even as cases of journalists being harassed by public officers continued to be reported both at the national government and in the counties where cases of wanton theft have continued to grace the headlines in the media. 

According to a reported statistic by Media Council of Kenya on February this year, 115 cases of attacks against journalist reported from 2013, whereby 48 of them were cases of assault followed by harassment at 34 while threats were 23.

Günther who is also the Ambassador to Seychelles, Somalia and permanent representative to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat said more needs to be done to improve press freedom in Kenya, noting that bold coverage on graft will encourage accountability in governance.

German, she said would continue playing a key role in promoting press freedom, even as she challenged Kenyan media to focus more on issues affecting Kenyans instead of allocating most of the space to the empty rhetoric from politicians.

Günther said she was disturbed because presently, the Kenya media is awash with news about politicians and the next general elections-related issues which are three years away yet there are other burning issues related to the people which can be prioritized. 

“When I look at the news, there is a lot of concentration in 2022 (election campaign). Journalists should not chase behind politicians to report what they say but should concentrate more on the affected people,” she said.

The summit whose climax will be awarding of Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA), concentrated on improving media accountability and good governance with journalists because asked to uphold integrity in their reporting.

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