Government Official Threatens Press in Kenya

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October 22, 1998


His Excellency
President Daniel arap Moi
Office of the President
Harambee House
Nairobi, Kenya

 

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) writes to strongly protest the overt threats made by Assistant Minister of Information and Broadcasting Shariff Nassir against the local press.

On October 17, 1998, at a press conference at his Palli House office in Mombasa, Nassir spoke of certain newspapers and magazines that he considered to be "specializing in hurling insults at President Moi and the government." Nassir said, "We shall set their printing presses on fire," "We shall make sure that no vendor will touch their papers." According to Nassir, "The time is ripe for all loyal Kanu members and sympathizers to start attacking instead of waiting to be attacked and then defending themselves."

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists committed to the defense of our colleagues' rights worldwide, CPJ is deeply alarmed that a government official of your country, responsible for upholding the rule of law, has advocated violence in a blatant attempt to intimidate media professionals and silence their reportage. The threats made by Nassir constitute a violation of all journalists' rights to hold and express opinions and ideas, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 9 of the African Charter of Human and People's Rights, to all of which, we respectfully remind Your Excellency, Kenya is a signatory. CPJ strongly urges Your Excellency to communicate to all Kenyan government officials that journalists' right to practice their profession freely and without reprisal must be guaranteed.

 

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



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His Excellency
President Daniel arap Moi
Office of the President
Harambee House
Nairobi, Kenya

Fax: 011-254-272-1515