Council and union condemn harassment of journalists

The Media Council of Kenya and the Kenya Union of Journalists have condemned increasing cases of media practitioners being harassed, intimidated and physically assaulted in the line of duty.

The council and union expressed outrage over the reported assault of Bondo-based Standard Media Group journalist Isaiah Gwengi by police officers in Usenge, Siaya on Wednesday evening.

Council chairman Charles Kerich called on the inspector-general of police, Mr Joseph Boinnet, to immediately arrest and prosecute the Administration Police officers who allegedly stripped and assaulted Mr Gwengi. He said that was a clear indication of impunity in the police.

“The assault on Mr Gwengi and other journalists is not only a breach of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of the media and access to information by the public, but also dangerous, especially during this electioneering period,” said Mr Kerich.

The union’s secretary-general, Mr Erick Oduor, said they will pursue the matter to ensure the culprits face the full force of the law.

“There are four cases in court that involve harassment and assault on journalists,” said Mr Oduor.

Standard Media Group Deputy Editorial Director Kipkoech Tanui said: “This clearly shows the police service has not reformed”.

Mr Gwengi and a human rights activist, Mr Rodgers Ochieng, were arrested by the Quick Response Team unit of the Administration Police, who were on patrol.

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