What Media Stakeholders Want DPP to do as They Issue 7 Days Ultimatum

The Kenya Media Sector Working Group has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), demanding an update into the investigations and prosecution of attackers against Journalists involved in the Coverage of the weekly opposition led demonstrations.

The Media sector working group has regretted recent remarks by the Deputy President, the Prime Cabinet Secretary and the Inspector General of Police in what would be termed as profiling of the media and blunt threats coming from the offices with the prime responsibility of protecting the media,

In a Joint press briefing held at Maanzoni Lodge Machakos County, the government has been cautioned against suppressing the freedom of opinion and expression, including seeking, receiving, and imparting information and ideas as it is a foundation for democracy and liberty.

The government has also be advised against any attempts to shut down the broadcast media and or the internet ahead of Monday’s demonstrations,

“We have received reports of plans to shut down the broadcast media and/or the internet and throw the country into information darkness ahead of tomorrow’s demonstrations. This would
be a most ill-advised and a grievous assault on Kenya’s democracy. From the media perspective, taking this route will sink as a country” Read part of the statement.

The statement further states ,We acknowledge that the right to peaceful assembly is the foundation of a democratic and tolerant society as enshrined in the Constitution and the
media have a democratic duty to bring such information to the public.
However, we note with concern the wave of attacks both offline and online
meted against media workers in the line of duty.

Over 20 cases have been documented of attacks and violations against journalists, including harassment, arbitrary arrests and physical attacks with state actors responsible for or encouraging a significant proportion of such attacks.

“We call upon all actors in Kenya to stop profiling and attacking journalists, as it is an attack on democracy. We demand that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) , the Inspector General of Police (IG) and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) ensure accountability for all threats and violence against journalists through impartial, prompt, thorough and independent and effective investigations. We call upon them to bring to book the
perpetrators behind attacks, while ensuring access to effective remedies
and compensation to the victims”.

Media houses have however been encouraged to adhere to laid out policies while conducting live coverage,

“Our policy position is that every media house, while entitled to do live coverage, needs to have the proper equipment and deploy the proper technology that can allow delayed relay of the feed of the live coverage that may be used for purposes of incitement and vilification of others. Broadcasters are encouraged to conduct proper risk assessment and to deploy equipped personnel and technology that can ensure coverage that adheres to the highest journalistic standards and ethics”

The Media houses have also been urged to prioritize safety and welfare of journalists covering conflict situations.

“We demand clear safety and protection protocols before they deploy journalists to cover situations that are potentially violent. Journalists deployed must be properly insured against such risks and must be provided with proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).While we acknowledge welfare issues facing many media houses, we demand that the media houses commit to a plan to settle journalists’ outstanding salary arrears and statutory remittances to respective authorities for the benefit of journalists.”

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