Kenya joins the world in marking World Press Freedom Day but local scribes have little to celebrate

Kenya joins the world in marking World Press Freedom Day but local scribes have little to celebrate

BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,3RD MAY,2022-Kenya joined the rest of the world in marking world press freedom day on Tuesday with local journalists expressing mixed feelings.  Kitale based journalists marked the World Press Freedom Day in style, as they held a peaceful procession within the town, on Tuesday.

The journalists drawn from different Media houses assembled at the Kenya News Agency to mark the day that is celebrated on May 3, each year.

Speaking after the peaceful procession, Caren Lumbasi of TNW online TV narrated how female journalists are harassed when searching for information, insisting that they need more protection.

She added that journalists are friendly and not enemies.

“I want to inform the public that we are not enemies but we are friendly to anybody. If politician ‘A’ needs coverage from us we will come and provide coverage for him or her and if politician ‘’B’’ also needs the same still we will provide coverage so don’t take us as if we are the enemies during this electioneering period, why have we covered so and so, no please we are servants and we report exactly as per the source,’’ Lumbasi said.

She called on the government to create a commission that will be responsible for monitoring journalists’ welfare, as well as regulating how they are remunerated.

An official from Kenya Correspondent Association (KCA) Bernard Kwalia challenged the government to stick to the Article 33 and 34 of the Kenyan Constitution on freedom of the media and allow journalists to access information they need from public offices for public consumption.

Kwalia said journalists are professionals and incase of any problems that may arise, the offended should report to the concerned authorities, instead of taking matters into their hands that includes harassment, arrests and killings.

“I remember March 2022 journalists from the Standard and The Star newspapers were assaulted at the ODM headquarters during a press briefing, we don’t want to go that direction, in case of anything engage the said journalist in a sober manner,” he said.

Kwalia also reminded journalists to be factual on their reporting to avoid confrontations from news sources.

There has also been the problem of poor pay and unfriendly working environment for journalists. The issue of poor pay continue to be a stumbling block for the industry which has come of age in Kenya and globally. Many local journalists have been left in the hands of media owners who pay them as they wish.

There is need for structured way of paying journalists which should be guided by law to avoid overexploitation of journalists by Media owners .

May 3, was set as the official day to mark the World Press Freedom Day, in 1993, by the United Nations.

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