The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has condemned the assault of K24 reporter Duncan Wanga two days ago terming it an unlawful and unfortunate act against freedom of the media.
On 27th September 2016, Duncan Wanga while covering an event in Eldoret, was allegedly harassed, brutally attacked and his camera destroyed by police. According to Mr. Wanga, the police had earlier warned him not to cover them during their operation to disperse the protesters who were opposed to the alleged arrest of Governor Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet).
Dr. Haron Mwangi, the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary to the Council said
These unlawful actions by the police pose great risk to the lives of journalists conducting their lawful and constitutionally protected responsibility to inform the public.
He said that this has happened soon after other cases of harassment and intimidation of journalists in Nyeri, Mumias, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet and Lamu where MCK and other media stakeholders urged the police to uphold journalists’ right to media freedom as provided for by Article 34 of the Constitution.
Growing cases of harassment, intimidation and assault of journalists by various groups including the police, politicians and their supporters is a worrying trend and should be condemned in the strongest terms. Such acts are not only unconstitutional but also demeaning for a democratic and progressive country such as ours.
Dr. Mwangi urged the National Police Service to take stern action against the officers who are involved in such inhuman acts against journalists.
Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Secretary General Eric Oduor added that as an organization they will not take a back seat as freedom of the media is being threatened. He said they intend to take legal action against all officers and individuals who are intimidating, threatening and harming journalists in order to protect the Constitutionally enshrined freedoms.