PRESS FREEDOM

Kenya's media habitat can be better

In Summary
  • The 2021 global press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders places Kenya at position 102 out of 180 countries, one of the worst rankings in recent times.
  • Of concern this election year is the violence being meted out on journalists perceived not to be friendly to certain political parties.
Journalists at work.
Journalists at work.
Image: FILE

Today is World Press Freedom Day and we celebrate the milestones made in opening up the media space in Kenya.

The country is currently home to more than 200 community radio stations, numerous newspapers, magazines, TV stations, online broadcasts and blogs.

Killings, arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists in Kenya common in the past are now rare, which is a plus for the administration. 

This has greatly improved the working environment and enhanced information flow, subsequently empowering the populace.

But going by the 2021 global press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders, all is not rosy.

It places Kenya at position 102 out of 180 countries sampled, one of the worst rankings in recent times.

This is mainly driven by the antagonistic and dictatorial behaviour of some public officers.

Harassment, confiscation and destruction of equipment, censorship from covering or airing certain stories and unnecessary restriction on information is eroding Kenya's media freedom gains.

Use of state advertising as a carrot and stick against 'errant' media house has muzzled free speech. Since most media houses are struggling, it leaves them to the whims of top state officers.

Hefty court awards and unnecessary gag orders have also been used to silence the media.

Of concern this election year is the violence being meted out on journalists perceived not to be friendly to certain political parties.

Media stakeholders must all stand up against any media aggression, more so ahead of the election.

Quote of the Day: "You'll never find a better sparring partner than adversity."

Golda Meir

The 4th Prime Minister of Israel (1969-74), known as the ‘Iron Lady’ of Israeli politics, was born on May 3, 1898.

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