Kenya

2013


Alerts   |   Kenya

Kenya parliament passes draconian media laws

Journalists protest outside a government building in Kenya. (CPJ)

Nairobi, December 5, 2013--Kenya's National Assembly today passed contentious anti-press legislation, the Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Act and the Media Council Act, which will effectively silence critical reporting through a new government-controlled regulator and the threat of hefty fines.

Blog   |   Kenya

Kenya's press takes to the streets against bill

A banner tied to the gates of Parliament protests a media bill under review. (CPJ/Tom Rhodes)

"Mr. President, you gagged us!" said a banner tied to the gates of Parliament today. Kenya's Editors Guild and the Kenya Correspondents' Association organized peaceful demonstrations across the country to protest a media bill currently under parliamentary review. Protests were held in every county in the country, according to William Janak, chairman of the correspondents' association, including roughly 80 to 100 protesters in the port-city of Mombasa, 100 in the central city of Kisumu, and 400 in the capital, Nairobi.

Blog   |   Kenya

Just the fear of draconian press laws is enough

Kenyan journalists' protests in 2007 warded off a new media law. (AP)

Few in Kenya's media could comprehend how a media bill, considered the most repressive in Kenya's 50-year history, could sail so easily through Parliament last week. Fittingly, Parliament passed the Kenya Information and Communications Amendment Bill on Halloween. It is awaiting President Uhuru Kenyatta's signature following a 14- day deliberation period.

November 5, 2013 3:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   Kenya

Covering Westgate

Two photographers take cover outside the Westgate Mall. (AP/Sayyid Azim)

The jumpy, cell phone clips of journalists and security officers crouching outside the upscale Westgate Shopping Mall in the capital, Nairobi, permeated the TV screens across Kenya for four days. Edgy local and foreign reporters hid behind vehicles as gunfire shots, repeated explosions and smoke emanated from a supermarket inside.

Alerts   |   Kenya

KTN reporter threatened for exposing hospital scandal

A screenshot of KTN's broadcast shows a room in the Bungoma District Hospital. The scandal is being referred to as 'The Sick Hospital.' (YouTube/KTN)

Nairobi, September 5, 2013--A TV journalist has received death threats twice this week following his coverage of wrongdoing at a hospital in the western Kenyan town of Bungoma, according to the journalist and news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to immediately investigate the threats and ensure the reporter's safety.

Reports   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda

Journalists in exile 2013

Somalis, Syrians flee violence; Iran crackdown deepens

Fifty-five journalists fled their homes in the past year with help from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The most common reason to go into exile was the threat of violence, such as in Somalia and Syria, two of the most deadly countries in the world for the profession. Others fled the threat of prison, especially in Iran, where the government deepened its crackdown ahead of elections. A CPJ special report by Nicole Schilit

Syrians take shelter at a refugee camp near the border with Turkey. (Reuters/Muhammad Najdet Qadour/Shaam News Network)

Blog   |   Ethiopia, Kenya

Exiled journalists in risky places need helping hand

The dangerous neighborhood of Eastleigh is home to some exiled journalists. (AP)

It was well past mid-day in Eastleigh, a shanty district on the east side of Nairobi, Kenya. The billows of dust rising from the rock-scarred road showed a government that had long lost interest in the neighborhood. A young man, struggling with horribly dry conditions, was fighting with his patrons. "Welahi, today's khat is so small. I need more," a Somali customer was complaining. "Pole, hakuna unvua" ("Sorry, no rain"). "Khat is getting expensive in these days," the young man tried to convince him in Kiswahili and English. Few knew that the young peddler was once a journalist in Ethiopia. They cared neither about his profession nor the reasons he had fled his home country. For them, he was just a dealer of khat, the mildly addictive green leaf that is chewed in East Africa. It was as simple as that. 

Blog   |   Kenya

Kenyan journalists kicked out of Parliament media center

Journalists use the media center to file stories on parliamentary proceedings. (Alphonce Shiundu)

News coverage of the Kenyan Parliament elected in March 2013 is off to a rocky start. The press last week was kicked out of the media center in the National Assembly, and although the speaker tried to make assurances that overall access won't be affected, journalists are wary.

Blog   |   Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda

Press freedom: Challenge of changing words into deeds

(Pan African Parliament)

The Pan African Parliament's (PAP) launch of a media freedom campaign through a "Dialogue on Media Freedom in Africa" in mid-May marks an important and welcome starting point. For too long, media freedom has been divorced from the debate around development and democratization when it has an integral role to play in promoting transparency, underpinning good governance, and enabling citizens to make informed decisions.

Blog   |   Kenya

Kenyan press face hostile work environment, study finds

The working environment for journalists and media workers in Kenya is increasingly hostile, with at least 91 percent of journalists at local media outlets having faced security threats in the course of their work, a new study has revealed. The harassment of and attacks against journalists, with nearly 40 percent coming from politicians, indicates a need for urgent attention from both state and non-state actors if press freedom is to be guaranteed in the country.

Blog   |   Kenya

New challenges for local and foreign press in Kenya

Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo has criticized the press in the past. (The Nation)

Kenya has passed peacefully through its election period, but questions still hang over the legitimacy of presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta's victory--as well as over the future of the country's media coverage. During polling, challenges arose for both local and international media, and they have not subsided. For the foreign press, it is now unclear how to get accreditation to report in the country. Local journalists are worried about the rise of self-censorship, and freedom of expression advocates are concerned by plans for vague regulations on hate speech.

Blog   |   Kenya, Security

In tense climate, Kenyan press can draw on solidarity

A supporter of Raila Odinga, a presidential candidate who was defeated last week by Uhura Kenyatta. (AFP/Jennifer Huxta)

Amid a tense presidential election, Kenyans have avoided a repeat of the deadly violence that followed the vote in 2007, when half a million people were uprooted and more than 1,000 people were killed. Still, the situation today is fraught. Ethnic identity dominates the nation's political divisions--and those same loyalties can undermine solidarity in the press corps.

Blog   |   Kenya

Journalists relieved, wary amid Kenyan elections

Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to the press on election day. (AP)

Journalists could be seen rushing from polling station to polling station Monday to see long queues of determined Kenyan voters in what was apparently a largely peaceful election, according to the Deputy Director of Kenya's statutory media council, Victor Bwire. But leading up to the vote, many journalists worked in a climate of fear; and many of them say they are still wary that, once results are in, they will face attacks and other challenges such as they experienced in the aftermath of the last presidential election in 2007.

Blog   |   Kenya, Security

As Kenya votes, journalists must take precautions

Kenyan Prime Minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga waves to supporters at a campaign rally in Mombasa on Sunday. (Reuters/Joseph Okanga)

Election-related violence is a worry for journalists in many countries, but perhaps nowhere more so than Kenya, where presidential polls will be held March 4. In the aftermath of the nation's last presidential elections in 2007, over one thousand people were killed in ethnic and political violence, live news broadcasts were banned, and the press faced a torrent of threats, leading to widespread self-censorship. Already, in recent weeks, some journalists have been harassed and their equipment confiscated, while media houses have been threatened in relation to coverage.

Blog   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Journalist Assistance, Kenya, Somalia

Journalist Assistance helps record number in 2012

An increase in press freedom violations last year created a surge of need among journalists, driving a record number of assistance cases for CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012. More than three-quarters of the 195 journalists who received support during the year came from East Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, reflecting the challenges--including threats of violence and imprisonment--of working in these repressive regions. Here are some of the highlights of our work over the last year:

Alerts   |   Kenya

Kenyan journalists attacked while covering Kibera clashes

John Otanga seeks treatment for his head injury at a local hospital. (Nation/Billy Mutai)

Nairobi, January 22, 2013--Kenyan authorities must hold to account soldiers with the General Service Unit, Kenya's paramilitary force, in connection with their reported assault of two journalists on Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

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