Today, on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, ARTICLE 19 is launching its report on attacks on Freedom of Expression in Kenya between January and September 2015.
Attacks on journalists have increased substantially in number in 2015, with ARTICLE 19 recording 65 individual attacks on journalists and social media users. Attacks were carried out by a range of perpetrators, from government officials to students.
This report aims to expose the disturbing trend towards deterioration of freedom of expression and media in Kenya which, ultimately, has far-reaching consequences for the country’s democracy, security, and economic growth.
Corruption and protest remained the most sensitive stories for journalists to cover in 2015. Introduction of devolution has also opened journalists to a barrage of new sensitivities and security challenges: they are being forced to grapple with competing political and inter-ethnic interests, hindering objective reporting on complex local politics.
The determined assault on the media is undermining press freedom, and the safety and security of journalists. Failure to bring those responsible for attacks on journalists to account sends the signal that the media can be silenced through violence, and will ultimately lead to many journalists resorting to self-censorship, hampering the realisation of the right to free expression.
The Kenyan government must take the necessary steps to ensure that journalists are free to carry out their work. A free press cannot thrive in an environment in which journalists are under severe and constant attack: this undermines freedom of expression, and democracy, in the country.
Read the full report: Silenced and intimidated.