Freedom of the press is the freedom of
communication and expression through
While such freedom mostly implies the
absence of interference from an
overreaching state, its preservation may
be sought through constitutional or other
Any government may distinguish which
materials are public or protected from
disclosure to the public.
This is based on classification of
information as sensitive, classified or
This means it is protected from disclosure
due to relevance of the information to
protecting the national interest.
Many governments are also subject to
freedom of information legislation that
are used to define the range of national
DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
"Everyone has the right to freedom of
opinion and expression; this right includes
freedom to hold opinions without
interference, and impart information and
ideas through any media regardless of
UNESCO promotes freedom of
expression and freedom of the press as
a basic human right, through lobbying
and monitoring activities.
It highlights media independence and
pluralism as fundamental to the
process of democracy.
It does this by providing advisory services
on media legislation and by making
governments, parliamentarians and other
decision-makers aware of the need to
guarantee free expression.
Other major UNESCO activities in this field
include the proclamation in 1993 by the
United Nations General Assembly of a
World Press Freedom Day to be
celebrated on May 3rd.
UNESCO established an advisory group
on press freedom which includes media
professionals from all parts of the world.
Also established in 1997 was the
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press
UNESCO supports independent media in
zones of conflict to enable them to play
an active role in conflict prevention and
resolution and the transition towards a
culture of peace.
2013 ELECTIONS IN KENYA
While Kenya's vote was peaceful, new
challenges are arising for the press.
Local journalists say many censor their
own coverage, while international
reporters run into confusion over how to
A plan to legislate against hate speech
worries freedom of expression advocates.
Tensions between international journalists
and Kenyans--including local journalists,
Internet users, and authorities--rose early
in the campaign.
CNN in particular was harshly criticized for
a report on an armed militia deemed
overblown and incendiary (CNN stood by
the story, according to news reports).
Weary of a repeatedly tarnished image
and fearful of irresponsible coverage
inciting tensions in 2007, Kenyans lashed
out at international journalists in the local
press and on social media.
On March 13 2013, the Director of
Information Joseph Owiti warned that the
government might use security forces to
deport foreign journalists without proper
MEDIA ACCREDITATION IN KENYA
In accordance to sections 4(k), 13(2),
19(1) and 36 of the Media Act 2007, the
Media Council of Kenya undertakes
Annual Accreditation of journalists
practicing in Kenya.
This is done for purposes of compiling and
maintaining a register of journalists, media
practitioners, media enterprises and
media training institutions in Kenya.
"The Department of Information is currently
the organization that is charged with the
responsibility of accrediting international
journalists wishing to work in this country so if
they don't have it then they should not be
here" - Owiti.
Information Permanent Secretary Bitange
Ndemo, had formerly criticized the
international press for alleged negative and
Ndemo told reporters that the Media Act is
For the time being foreign
correspondents must seek accreditation
through the Department of Information
due to immigration and security issues.
The Media Council disagreed.
"We issued over 50 press cards to foreign
journalists and had no problem with this
as long as they provide evidence of legal
authority to be in Kenya and valid
testimonials of their career as journalists,“
- Council Chief Executive Haron Mwangi.
An editorial in the Nation, backed the
Council: "In the first instance, the Ministry
of Information and Communications
(which houses the Department of
Information) has absolutely no legal
mandate to issue press cards.
Press accreditation for both local and
foreign journalists is handled by the
Media Council of Kenya.
If the ministry has been issuing any press
cards to journalists, it has been doing so in
assumed exercise of powers it does not
SELF CENSORSHIP Kiprono Kittony, the chairman of the
Media Owners' Association, said the
press did a "fantastic job" of keeping
the public informed without
compromising peace and security.
Many journalists expressed frustration
saying the local media strongly self-censored.
One reporter, who asked not to be
identified for fear of reprisal, said editors
culled stories even when there was no
apparent likelihood of incitement.
"We were either censored or bribed into
After presidential candidate Raila Odinga
claimed the election results were rigged and
filed a petition with the Supreme Court, he
accused the local press of ignoring his
"Kenyan media was so scared of triggering
violence with their stories they folded up,“ -
Standard photojournalist George
"They became a mouthpiece for IEBC
[Independent Electoral Boundaries
Commission], when the tallying process
changed from electronic to manual to I
don't know what with glaringly obvious
flaws...no one spoke...egged on by the
politicians who had [a] stake in our
The price paid by journalists is becoming
After respect has been paid to the
victims for their courage, increasingly
urgent questions emerge.
How to protect the right of all citizens to
reliable information and the right of
journalists to provide this information
without fearing for their safety?
Have the countries, the international
organizations, and media institutions put
in place all possible means to limit the
risks incurred by journalists?
In the past 10 years, more than 500
journalists have been killed, the majority
of them are not war correspondents.
They are not dying in crossfire, but rather
by being hunted down and murdered,
often in direct reprisal for their reporting.
Indeed, the majority of these attacks did
not occur during situations of active
They were often perpetrated by police,
security personnel and militia as well as by
non-state actors such as organized crime
Hence, local journalists are the most
KTN REPORTER THREATENED
Nairobi, September 5, 2013--A TV
journalist received death threats twice.
This followed his coverage of wrongdoing
at a hospital in the western Kenyan town
Robert Wanyoni, obtained footage of a
pregnant woman giving birth on the floor
of the Bungoma District Hospital.
The footage was taken on August 9 by
another pregnant woman.
The video, which aired on KTN on
September 3, shows the woman giving
birth on the floor, followed by nurses
scolding her and even slapping her.
The same day the story aired, Wanyoni
said he received an anonymous call
warning him to vacate the town or "we
will send you to the grave,".
At 5 a.m. the next morning, he said he
received a similar threat.
ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED
Can reporters be efficiently prepared,
and by whom, to face the dangers?
Attacks on journalists include murder,
abductions, hostage-taking, harassment,
intimidation, and the illegal arrest and
detention of journalists, media
professionals and associated personnel
as a result of their professional activities.
Most abuses against journalists and
media workers remain not investigated
The failure to bring perpetrators of crimes
to justice leads to impunity that
perpetuates the cycle of violence
against journalists, including community
media workers and citizen journalists.
The curtailment of their journalistic
contribution deprives society as a whole
since they lack information to fully realize
This results in a wider impact on press
freedom where a climate of intimidation
Guaranteeing media professionals the
right to work free from the threat of
violence is essential for the full
implementation of the right to freedom of
opinion and expression.
It is a duty of the State and of society to
create and maintain the conditions
needed for these fundamental human
rights to be enjoyed by all.
Working on some types of news stories
may put your life at risk.
You can be working in a war zone or
reporting a story exposing a high
powered member of society.
Alternatively, you can work on ‘safe’
stories like ‘Duracoat launches new paint
Do you have any work related fears of
being a journalist? Why is this so?