24.06.2016 - Communication & Information Sector

UNESCO publishes report on safety of Journalists in Kenya, based on the UNESCO Journalists' Safety Indicators


UNESCO has just published a study report titled: Supporting Safety of Journalists in Kenya: An assessment based on UNESCO’s Journalist Safety Indicators. The report documents the national state of journalist’s safety and the issue of impunity by providing an overview of the safety situation of journalists in Kenya. It also points out the context of safety and the responsibility of all stakeholders in addressing the issue of journalists’ safety in the Kenya.

It is crucial that journalists can safely access and produce information both online and offline. Assuring the physical and psychological well-being of journalists has become a pressing issue in Kenya. The study finds that Kenyan journalists face serious challenges in the course of their work with both State and non-State actors contributing to an increase in number of threats, incidents of harassment and intimidation as well as legal and personal attacks in the country.

In spite of these incidents, Kenya has a number of innovative initiatives to address the issue such as the development of the Safety and Protection Protocol for Journalists by Media Council of Kenya which prescribes mechanisms of ensuring safety and protection of media practitioners and promoting of dialogue between media and security institutions in Kenya.

The study was conducted by African Media Initiative (AMI), in consultation with UNESCO. This activity was funded by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Programme on Development of Communication (IPDC) which is a multilateral forum in the UN system that not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries. It was carried out within the efforts of UNESCO to “promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and journalistic safety in Kenya.”

The report was developed through a multi-stakeholder engagement and consultation process that included a media stakeholders meeting held on 22 May 2015, which provided a platform for participants to plan the study’s methodology and the responsibility of diverse actors relevant to the media sector in Kenya. A second consultation meeting was also held on 23 February 2016 to review the draft study report and implementation of the recommendations therein. A peer review exercise of the study was also carried out before its publication.

The UNESCO Journalists' Safety Indicators is developed within the context of the endorsement of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. It serves the purpose of pinpointing significant matters that show, or impact upon, the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. It also allows for mapping of key features that can help assess the extent to which journalists are able to carry out their work under safe conditions, and determine whether adequate follow-up is given to crimes committed against them.

To download the publication in PDF format please click here.

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