Participants at the two-day conference on safety of journalists in Nairobi.

East African journalists discuss safety in Nairobi meet

Dozens of delegates are meeting in Nairobi for the Eastern Africa Conference on National Mechanisms of Safety of Journalists.

This is within the framework of ending impunity and crimes against journalists.

The event, being held at the Intercontinental Hotel has attracted 120 delegates from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, among other countries.

It has come at a time when Kenyan journalists have had their unfair share of harassment, intimidation and injuries while on duty.

Journalists from EA discuss protection and safety of journalists

Journalists from EA discuss protection and safety of journalists

The conference has been convened by the Kenya Media Sector Working Group that is co- chaired by the Media Council of Kenya and the Kenya Union of Journalists, with financial and technical support from UNESCO’s International Programme for Development of Communication, Government of Sweden, HIVOS, and Committee to Protect Journalists, International Media Support, Free Press Unlimited, the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, Article 19 Eastern Africa and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders.

In a statement, MCK Communication and Information Officer, James Ratemo said the delegates are drawn from the Ministries of information, justice and security, associations of journalists and media workers, civil society/human rights defenders, journalism training institutions, media regulatory bodies and the media development partners  

“The aim of this conference is to share good practices on national, regional and international mechanisms for safety of journalists and how to localise such mechanisms in Eastern Africa. It also aims at building the capacity of Safety of Journalist’s focal persons from the relevant Government institutions and Ministries, in accordance with the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists approved by the UN General Assembly in 2012,” the statement said.

KUJ Secretary General Eric Oduor gives his speech at the conference.

KUJ Secretary General Eric Oduor gives his speech at the conference.

Among the expectations of the conveners, Eastern African countries will be tasked to agree on regional parameters’, in establishing national mechanisms for safety of journalists.

“The event will also provide an opportunity to engage with regional actors on safety of journalists and mobilize the Eastern Africa media development partners, to provide the necessary support for implementation of recommendations taken in international, regional and national forum,” the MCK statement said.

During the opening session of the conference, KUJ Secretary General Eric Oduor said, “We should not allow journalists to be harassed; cases reported to the police have not been investigated.”

The guest of honour Mr Joe Mucheru, the Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and Technology, opened the two-day conference and said the government supports safety of journalists. Being a signatory to international laws that protect journalists and human rights, Kenya is committed to journalists’ safety and freedom of speech, he said.

Some of the comments on Twitter under hashtag #ProtectjournalistsEA:

 




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