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Reporters mark day as attacks rise

Wednesday November 1 2017

Citizen TV Senior Reporter Francis Gachuri leaves Wiper Party headquarters goons

Citizen TV Senior Reporter Francis Gachuri leaves Wiper Party headquarters in Lavington, Nairobi on October 31, 2017 after he was attacked by goons during a Nasa meeting. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SILAS APOLLO
By SILAS APOLLO
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Kenya’s election crisis has led to increased attacks on journalists by police and political actors.

Tuesday’s attack on two television journalists at a Nasa function in Nairobi was just the latest in a long list of ugly incidents where the messengers have been at the receiving end.

Citizen TV’s Senior Reporter Francis Gachuri and NTV’s camerawoman Jane Gatwiri were attacked by rowdy Nasa supporters when they went to cover the coalition’s parliamentary group meeting.

GOONS

The goons were apparently unhappy with Citizen TV for relaying results in the repeat presidential election boycotted by Nasa candidate Raila Odinga.

Ms Gatwiri was slapped repeatedly for recording the attack on Mr Gachuri.

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It was the second time Ms Gatwiri was being attacked at a Nasa function, having been a victim of a similar attack at Uhuru Park.

As the world marks the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on Thursday, focus will be on finding ways to end the crimes and finding justice for the victims.

Now in its 11th year, the day seeks to highlight some of the crimes committed against journalists and shine a light on those who have endured torture, intimidation and forced disappearances in the line of duty.

DPP

On Wednesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko wrote to the Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet asking him to begin investigations into Tuesday’s attack.

But while Mr Tobiko was quick to order the investigations, he has been silent on attacks perpetrated by the police.

The media fraternity, including the Kenya Editors Guild, Kenya Union of Journalists and the Media Council of Kenya, condemned the attacks, describing them as criminal acts.

Editors Guild chairman Linus Kaikai and KUJ’s Erick Oduor threatened to stop sending journalists to functions where they are in danger.

In Kisumu, five journalists were beaten and injured by police while covering the demonstrations against the electoral commission last month.

GSU

The five – NTV Reporter Ouko Okusah, camerawoman Doreen Magak, Rushdie Oudia of Daily Nation, Rashid Ronald of KTN and Faith Matete of the Star – were assaulted by about 20 officers from the General Service Unit.

In Bungoma, a journalist had his mobile phone destroyed by youths during the August 8 elections. In Migori, Basil Okoth of Milambo Radio was seriously injured in an attack by GSU officers on October 26 while covering protests at Awendo.

‘‘They beat me up, took my press card, phone and cash. They then forced me to clear barricades erected by the protesters on the road amid beatings,’’ he said.

He was treated at Ombo hospital but needs financial help to seek further treatment.
Daily Nation’s Samwel Owino and NTV’s Andrew Ochieng were in August forced to flee from a political rally in Kibera after youths allied to Nasa threatened to attack them.