BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,30TH JULY,2022-The political Journalists Association of Kenya (PJAK) has called on political stakeholders to ensure journalists are protected before, during and after the General Election.
Speaking from Naivasha where political journalists gathered on Saturday, PJAK Chairperson Kennedy Murithi said journalists remain apolitical objective and professional.
“Political journalists are key components in not just elections but for the advancement of information and democracy in Kenya. We want to state that journalists and especially political journalists have no preferred candidates in this election or any other,” Murithi said.
Capital FM’s Njoki Kihiu called for the safety and security of journalists saying political journalists are just but key players in the polls.
“Being a political journalist is not a crime and we do not want to be treated as criminals. We call on all political stakeholders to play their role and assure them that we will play ours to ensure a peaceful and credible election,” said Kihiu.
While taking stock of how the last 10 years have been, the journalists raised concerns of worrying trends where journalists have been physically ejected from events, called names, some profiled based on their religion, ethnicity and threatened with dire consequences.
Statistics from the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) show that since January this year, 50 journalists have been affected.
They urged the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to assure journalists of their safety while covering election regardless of their tribe, religion, or workplace.
“As political journalists we will be objective and covering all candidates without bias. We ask the security agencies to protect us as we discharge our mandate,” PJAK Secretary General Jerry Rawlings said.
The association further called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to fast-track accreditation of journalists and ensure those accredited Get unlimited access to the polling stations and tallying centres.