The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has condemned violence meted on journalists covering anti-government protests called by the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition on Monday.
Journalists from local and international news outlets were attacked by a knife-wielding gang in Kibra, while several others were injured after a rowdy gang pelted their vehicles with stones within Kibra’s DO area.
Valuable equipment was also lost in the incidents.
Through a statement, MCK CEO David Omwoyo said demonstrators attacking the media demean the spirit of mass action as it betrays the foundations of democracy on which it is founded.
“Organising mass action which starts by attacking the media is defeatist and dangerous to democratic values,” he said.
Omwoyo said police officers attacking journalists undermines press freedom, limits the public’s access to information, violates human rights and can cause physical or psychological harm.
“It is essential that journalists are able to carry out their work without fear of violence or harassment, and that law enforcement agencies are held accountable for any actions that violate their rights or impede their ability to report on events,” said the media watchdog boss.
The Council said it will work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure those responsible for the attacks are held accountable for the actions, and ensure similar incidences are deterred in future.
“We commend and stand in solidarity with all journalists who put themselves at risk to report on events and keep the public informed, and we reiterate our commitment to fiercely defend the freedom of the press,” the statement added.