The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the harassment by state security of Kenyan journalists covering a presidential function earlier this week.
Two journalists were harassed in separate instances on 13 September during the opening of the third Global Youth Employment Summit in Nairobi where Kenyan President Moi Kibaki and other senior state officers were in attendance.
Rebecca Nduku, a photo-journalist with media company Standard Group, was harassed by presidential security guards who seized her camera after claiming she shot the President’s official vehicle. Later, Eric Okoth, TV cameraman with Nation Media Group TV (NTV), was roughed up and his shirt was torn by the Internal Security Minister’s security guards when he attempted to interview the Minister.
“We condemn this harassment,” said Gabriel Baglo Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “It’s unacceptable that journalists are treated roughly by state officers. We urge the Government of Kenya government to take strong measures to make sure this kind of violation of press freedom does not to happen again.”
According to the newspaper The Standard, Rebecca Nduku got her camera back only after the Presidential Press Service checked to make sure no “sensitive pictures” had been taken.
Just a few minutes after the incident with Nduku, security guards working for Internal Security Minister John Michuki assaulted an NTV crew for attempting to interview their boss. During the scuffle Okoth, the cameraman, was roughed up and had his shirt torn.
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries