ATTACKS ON PRESS

Eight Kenyan journalists killed, 88 attacked, says lobby group

Journalists told to seek insurance covers from their employees

In Summary

• Article 19 directly links three of the slain journalists to their journalistic work

• The key perpetuators of the attacks on and killing of journalists were police officers or people associated with political groupings.

Journalists at Harambee House during a media briefing in April 2014.
Journalists at Harambee House during a media briefing in April 2014.
Image: FILE

A lobby group has said it documented eight cases on journalists who were killed, while 88 others were attacked in the line of duty between 2009-20.

 Article 19 programme officer in charge of media and protection Robert Wanjala on Friday said of the eight murdered journalists, three were directly connected with reports they were writing or had already done.

Wanjala was making a presentation on the physical safety of journalists during a three-day Countering hate speech training for journalists sponsored by Internews NGO. He called on journalists to always make their personal security a top priority.

Wanjala lamented that the key perpetuators of the attacks on and killing of journalists were police officers or people associated with political groupings.

“We have documented 88 cases of journalists’ attacks. These are journalists who are monitored and verified. We had a number of killings in Kenya. In my record, I have eight killings of journalists but we managed to connect three of those to journalistic work,” Wanjala said.

He said the five other victims were linked to journalistic work.

“If you look at how these five other journalists were killed, it gives you a hint that there could be something that happened. The only challenge is that we have not been able to connect to a specific story."

"We can generally say they were suspicious killings and cannot link them to any story. We documented them as killings,” he said.

He said his organisation has been helping journalists who are attacked to get recourse.

“As article 19 we have been trying to help journalists. Always go and get a police station OB number for these attack cases,” he said. "That helps put pressure for prosecution of the culprits".

Wanjala called on journalists to seek insurance covers from their employees and urged news stringers to have personal insurance even from NHIF.

Internews NGO official Abraham Mariita encouraged journalists to always secure their communication gadgets to avoid unnecessary tracking by crooks or surveillance from the state.