Political Journalists Association of Kenya (PJAK) has appealed to the Inspector General (IG) of police Mr. Hillary Mutyambai and media houses to assure journalists of their security as they cover political rallies during the electioneering period.
Speaking to journalists in Naivasha on the sidelines of the PJAK meeting, the officials led by their chair Mr. Kennedy Muriithi expressed concern that since January this year, over 50 journalists have been attacked while covering political rallies and some have even been physically assaulted.
“During this electioneering period, cases of journalists being ejected from political meetings and denied the right to do their work, insulted and some profiled according to their ethnicity, religion and even threatened with dire consequences,” He said.
Muriithi added that anyone who has a complaint against a journalist should lodge it with the media watchdog; the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) and observed that the media had an important role of informing the electorate at this electioneering period.
Muriithi called upon the IG to assure political journalists of their safety and Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to hasten accreditation of journalists for the forthcoming General Elections and ensure they have unlimited access to polling stations and tallying centre.
“The harassing and intimidation of journalists in the course of their duty should stop forthwith. We know this is a transition election and has high stakes but we should not go back to where we were in the past where even some of us journalists were cited for cases at the International Court of Justice (ICC),” Muriithi said.
To this end, he urged journalists on their part to carry out their work objectively and professionally without fear or favour. He was accompanied by other PJAK officials
With only nine days to elections, campaign rallies have entered the homestretch with every candidate doing their best to woe voters to their side.
Kenyans go to polls on August 9 with over 22million registered voters expected to elect their leaders at six levels which include; the presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial, county women representatives, members of parliament and members of county assemblies.
By Mabel Keya – Shikuku