Sunday, May 3, 2009

Journalists mark World Press Day

A journalist waits at Sheria House, Nairobi, to hand over a petition to the Attorney General to investigate the killing  of a reporter, Mr Francis Kainda Nyaruri, as the Kenyan press joined the world in marking Press Freedom Day on Sunday. Mr Nyaruri was killed in Nyamira, western Kenya, early this year after allegedly running foul of local policemen over his work, which exposed graft.  Photo/JENNIFER MUIRURI

A journalist waits at Sheria House, Nairobi, to hand over a petition to the Attorney General to investigate the killing of a reporter, Mr Francis Kainda Nyaruri, as the Kenyan press joined the world in marking Press Freedom Day on Sunday. Mr Nyaruri was killed in Nyamira, western Kenya, early this year after allegedly running foul of local policemen over his work, which exposed graft. Photo/JENNIFER MUIRURI 

By BORNICE BIOMNDO

Kenyan journalists on Sunday marked the World Press Day by holding a protest march to demand respect for their profession.

Led by officials from their unions and associations, they marched through the streets of Nairobi, calling for an end to the killing of journalists.

Murdered

They attempted to deliver a petition to the Attorney General’s office demanding for independent investigations into the death of Mr Francis Nyaruri, a media practitioner who was murdered in Nyamira early this year.

However, they were told that the AG was out of office, and asked to seek him on Monday.

Mr Nyaruri was one of two journalists who, they said, have died in mysterious circumstances since the year began.

Two weeks after he went missing, his mutilated body was found dumped in Kodeka Forest near Oyugis in Rachuonyo District.

Prior to his disappearance, Mr Nyaruri had complained of receiving death threats after he had published a story on irregularities and embezzlement of funds by senior police officers.

“It is close to four months since he died, but investigations have unearthed nothing so far,” said Mr Bob Wekesa of the Kenya Journalists Association (Keja).

Other organisations that took part in the demonstration were the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ), the Media Institute and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

Members of the Press said they had little to celebrate and complained of deliberate efforts by government to gag them.

Citing the Communications (Amendment) Act, they said they were concerned at MPs’ reluctance to prioritise it.

Grudgingly

“It took huge efforts for the government to grudgingly agree to expunge a bad section from the Act, although this has not been done yet,” said KUJ’s secretary-general Eric Orina.

Marked on the 3rd day of May every year, the occasion seeks to celebrate the role of journalists globally while demanding for greater journalistic freedom.

advertisement