The challenges facing freedom of the press in Kenya

The challenges facing freedom of the press in Kenya

Kenyan constitution has guaranteed the safety of media personnel and journalists who cover sensitive stories but this has not been the case when it comes to practicality. The President of Kenya has severaly criticized media houses in public saying that most of their stories are lies.

The Government has also been a barrier to the media in an effort to cover some of the unanswered questions of government expenditures and exposure of some of the top government workers who have been involved in corruption and misuse of public funds. As the citizen demand answers, the government silences them by saying ” we should wait for our officers to complete their investigations”.

As the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day, in Kenya it’s like a normal working day. The organizations that are supposed to fight for press freedom, have been occupied by government officials who also act as the government spies to monitor the organizations’ activities.

Some journalists feel insecure and unprotected to cover sensitive stories bearing in mind that they have seen their colleagues have disappeared without a trace after revealing sensitive information. The Kenya Correspondents’ Association (KCA) and Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) among other powerful media bodies that are supposed to be on the frontline to fight for press freedom have also been occupied by some government officials who monitor their activities.

Journalists especially correspondents in Kenya work under fear due to threats from powerful government officials, politicians, and wealthy businesspeople.

An example of journalists from Western Kenya who disclosed corrupt business deals and cartels in the agriculture industry such as coffee and sugar is up to date living in fear after death threats were posed to him. He stated that he had to go underground and even changed residence for fear of their dear lives.

The government must guarantee the Kenyan media for press freedom in reality. On the other hand, the media in Kenya has an upper hand since the country attained its independence in 1963. From a single State-owned national broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) to hundreds of privately own stations today.