PRESS FREEDOM

Independent media is essential for democracy

Press freedom goes beyond rhetoric. It must be seen by action, commitment and felt in the newsrooms or media houses

In Summary

• The world marks World Press Freedom day today

•The press is not "the enemy of the people even when it reports news that could be uncomfortable to some people

Journalists protest
Journalists protest
Image: FILE

We mark  World Press Freedom day today with a report showing that Kenya's media space is slowly but gradually shrinking.

The latest index by the Reporters Without Borders shows the country has declined by four points in the World Press Freedom Index, meaning we are worse off than last year.

Despite articles 33-35 of the Constitution giving the press the mandate to discharge their duties freely, the government still piles pressure on media houses to force compliance and kills critical reports and commentaries in some cases.

Media is not the enemy of the people, even when it reports news that could be uncomfortable to some people, especially those in power.

At its best, the press is there to provide the best and most reliable information to the people, and in some cases, to protect them from an overreaching government, especially now that there is no credible opposition.

Only in countries run by dictators is the press viewed as the propaganda arm of those in power.

Press freedom goes beyond rhetoric. It must be seen by action, commitment and felt in newsrooms or media houses

An independent press is one of the essential pillars of democracy, and we need to support journalists and whistleblowers alike to protect it.

The government must guarantee press freedom and scrap laws that can easily be used against the media.