Thursday, 20 September 2012

Media Owners asked to ensure security of their Journalists

Press photographers at work in Nairobi

By Jerry Otieno
 Media owners in Kenya  have been asked to come up with measures to ensure security of their journalists.

Media Council of Kenya Executive Director Dr. Harun Mwangi said that it was the duty of the media owners and the journalist to ensure their safety was upheld at all times in the cause of their duty.

“Journalists must be aware of their own safety. There is no story worth their lives. Media owners must ensure that their journalists are safe,” said Mwangi.

Briefing the press yesterday at a Nairobi hotel, the MCK Boss said that journalist must also cover their own stories of threat to life.

He said that it was selfless to cover other people threat to lives yet fail to cover their own and advised them to be vigilant in their duties and report any threat to their lives.

The council is already in talks with the stakeholders to start up a trust fund to help the journalist to go into hiding if their lives are at risk.

The fund will among other things be used to pay medical services incase of injury to the journalist in the line of duty and to ensure the security of all journalist at all times.

Mwangi said that Media owners, Kenya Union of Journalist, Kenya Correspondent Association and other media stakeholders, would fund the fund.

He disclosed that they would have to sensitize the police officers on the need for security of the journalist and right to life as enshrined in the constitution.

Already, MCK has commissioned a study to the level of the security, pattern and magnitude of the security in the country.

The study will also cover what security risks affects journalists in the country and make recommendations before the next general elections.

Elsewhere, Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) has lauded the solidarity demonstrated by the Tanzanian media fraternity over the killing of TV journalist, Daudi Mwangosi last week.
The death of the TV journalist was blamed on the police who were dispersing a rally convened by an opposition party in Iringa Region of Tanzania.

The Association’s Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman said the demonstration held on Tuesday by journalist and editors in the streets of Dar es Salaam was aimed at the Tanzanian government to launch full and transparent investigations into the killing of the journalist.

Editors and journalists poured into the streets of Dar es Salaam from morning in a peaceful demonstration to protest the killing of their colleague, Mwangosi.  They carried placards condemning the killing and calling for a through probe into the incident.

Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) and Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) have formed a probe team of their own to inquire into the killing of the Channel Ten journalist. The task force consisting of three people was given 8 days to come up with the report.

EAJA, while supporting the probe by TEF and MCT Osman said that all indications from photographs appearing in various media point to the police being culpable of the heinous murder.

“The police cannot be trusted to conduct any independent investigation as they are already incriminated. They should not attempt to conceal the facts of this case,” added Osman.

During the demonstration, the journalists became hostile to the Tanzanian Minister of Home Affairs Dr. Emmanuel Nchimbi who arrived at the scene where the journalists were addressing a rally and attempted to address them.

The killing of the journalist working with Tanzania’s TV Station Channel Ten has sparked outrage both in locally and internationally.

A probe team led by the Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Robert Manumba, has been formed to investigate the circumstances that led to the killing of the journalist.

The investigating team consists of experts from various state organs including the chief government chemist.

There have been varying accounts of how the journalist met his death. There have been distressing images of the remains of the late Mwangosi circulating on several social networks and blogs. The images show his stomach ripped open by what is believed to have been an explosive.

EAJA has demanded that Tanzanian authorities carry out “credible investigations” to establish the cause of Mwangosi's death.

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