•The project was funded by the Kenya National Commission for Unesco
•Fifteen editors were also trained separately, during a one day round table at the same venue.
Sixty female journalists from five counties have been trained on safety and security ahead of the August general election.
The scribes from Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kitui and Makueni, attended a three-day workshop by the Association of Media Women in Kenya, at the Machakos University Hotel between February 23 and 26.
The project was funded by the Kenya National Commission for Unesco.
Fifteen editors were also trained separately, during a one day round table at the same venue.
Amwik executive director Judie Kaberia said the training was meant to equip female journalists with skills to ensure they are safe before, during and after the August election.
“We realised the needs and gaps as journalists prepare to cover the election,” Kaberia said.
She said Amwik, had realised there were issues regarding the safety and security of journalists.
Kaberia said there was a need for media organisations from the managements to media owners, to ensure the safety and security of their scribes during the electioneering period.
The executive director said they had received reports of several attacks on journalists, some had been seriously attacked by civilians while others threatened by politicians and the public.
“We should empower the journalists with necessary skills and knowledge on how they can protect themselves. We are calling upon media organisations to prioritise their safety before anything else,” she said.
“As we talk about politics and safety of journalists, there is internal safety threats like sexual harassment which has emerged as a major challenge facing female journalists.”
Kaberia said it was good enough to be human and offer extra security. She appealed to editors to give special care to women journalists because of the challenges they face.
“Send them to cover political stories but after analysing their safety,” the executive director said.
Kenya National Commission for Unesco programmes manager Angela Muchai said they funded the programme as part of their mandate.
“We implement Unesco activities that work to promote access to information, freedom of expression and media information literacy,” Muchai said.
She said the training was meant to equip female journalists with skills on how to protect themselves while in line of duty and especially during the electioneering period.
Muchai said media stakeholders need to identify how they can work together to ensure the safety and security of journalists since the nature of their work exposes them to lots of vulnerability.
“Journalists should be equipped both physically and emotionally to ensure their safety and protection,” she said.
MCK director media training and development Victor Bwire said 18 cases of attacks and harassment on journalists had been reported from January to February 25.
Bwire said of the cases, four were connected to a senior politician who denied journalists access each time they went to cover functions.
“We have written to the Inspector of Police Hillary Mutyambai on the cases and copied to DPP for them to conduct investigations and arrest the perpetrators,” he said.
Bwire, however, said history on journalists' cases of harassment have not been good and most times they fail to go through to conclusion in court.
“Some complainants withdraw after losing interest in the cases. Police say journalists don’t follow up. We call on journalists to hang on and cooperate for their cases to go through conclusion once reported to MCK,” he said.
Bwire said MCK had introduced a commitment form for journalists that they will cooperate for their cases to get through court conclusion.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris