UK High Commission launches project to back media freedom

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 00:00 |
British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott.

Press freedom in Kenya received a major boost yesterday after the British High Commission launched  Protect  Programme for journalists.

 British High Commissioner to Kenya  Jane Marriott said the programme will support the sector in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa. 

Speaking at the Kenya Editors’ Guild Press Club – Media Freedom in Kenya, she said the country was fortunate to have a vibrant, diverse media, with well-trained journalists, determined to get to the truth.  

Despite the challenges the stories presented, Marriot said, journalists have been able to work on exposés which have come to light during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The huge test, she noted, lies in the next 18 months, as the nation approaches a possible referendum and an election, where citizens need to be informed on the issues as well as politics. 

“Over the coming years, we hope our Protect programme will make an important contribution to media freedom in Kenya.

The programme has four local partners: ARTICLE19, Hivos, International Centre for Not for Profit Law (ICNL) and Internews,” Marriott said.

In the programme, Marriott noted the same will provide grants to other organisations — for example, the Mzalendo Trust, which monitors Parliament, the Civil Society Reference Group — and will also give grants directly to journalists in Mombasa and Kisumu to support the production of data journalism stories. 

“We need investigative journalists who spend days – weeks, months –getting to the real heart of stories.

We need a media that holds power in all its forms to account. And we need journalists to be safe in their endeavour, working without fear of interference,” she said.

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