Week 4 freedom of press


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Its not easy being a journalist. Especially in my home country, Kenya. There are constant challenges around the profession, which highlights the effects of press freedom around the world.

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Week 4 freedom of press

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Freedom of the press is the freedom of communication and expression through media. While such freedom mostly implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state, its preservation may be sought through constitutional or other legal protections. Any government may distinguish which materials are public or protected from disclosure to the public.
  3. 3. This is based on classification of information as sensitive, classified or secret. 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 interest.
  4. 4. 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 frontiers"
  5. 5. UNESCO PERSPECTIVE 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.
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. Also established in 1997 was the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. 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.
  8. 8. 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 get accredited. A plan to legislate against hate speech worries freedom of expression advocates.
  9. 9. 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.
  10. 10. On March 13 2013, the Director of Information Joseph Owiti warned that the government might use security forces to deport foreign journalists without proper accreditation.
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. ACCREDITATION FEES Local Journalist: Ksh 2,000 Foreign Journalist: Ksh 10,000 Foreign Journalist (3 Months): Ksh 5,000 Student: Ksh 300
  13. 13. "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 false reporting. Ndemo told reporters that the Media Act is "under review“.
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. 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 legally possess."
  16. 16. 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.
  17. 17. 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 silence,“ 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 party's concerns. "Kenyan media was so scared of triggering violence with their stories they folded up,“ - Standard photojournalist George Mwangangi
  18. 18. "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 silence."
  19. 19. SAFETY The price paid by journalists is becoming heavier. 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?
  20. 20. 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.
  21. 21. Indeed, the majority of these attacks did not occur during situations of active conflict. They were often perpetrated by police, security personnel and militia as well as by non-state actors such as organized crime groups. Hence, local journalists are the most vulnerable.
  22. 22. 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 of Bungoma. Robert Wanyoni, obtained footage of a pregnant woman giving birth on the floor of the Bungoma District Hospital.
  23. 23. 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.
  24. 24. 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.
  25. 25. Most abuses against journalists and media workers remain not investigated and unpunished. 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 their potential. This results in a wider impact on press freedom where a climate of intimidation
  26. 26. 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.
  27. 27. REFLECTION PAPER 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 color’. Do you have any work related fears of being a journalist? Why is this so?