The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) on Wednesday, July 19, called out police officers for masquerading as journalists to arrest protesters during Azimio demos.
In a press statement, the Media Council of Kenya through its CEO David Omwoyo condemned police’s acts as a threat to the work of journalists.
“The Media Council of Kenya has noted with deep concerns the cases of security officers camouflaging as journalists covering protest with an intent to arrest protestors.
Impersonation of journalists by the police is a grave unprofessional misconduct on the part of the police and endangers the lives of journalists in the line of duty,” Omwoyo stated.
The Council went ahead and condemned the police for harassing and arresting journalists who were covering the anti-government protests.
“While the Council appreciates the release of journalists who were arrested while covering the protests, the detaining of journalists was unnecessary, arbitrary and ridiculous.
The work of journalists is protected under Articles 33, 34 and 35 of the Constitution that should be respected by all,” the statement read.
Journalists Harassed during Azimio demos
Goons attacked journalists covering Azimio protests in Kibera, Nairobi and stole equipment of unknown value.
For instance, youths vandalized Roya Media Services’ vehicle when its crew was capturing the demonstrations.
Citizen TV senior political reporter Seth Olale confirmed the incident via tweeter.
“We have been attacked,” tweeted Seth Olale.
On the other hand, police arrested Calvin Rock, a journalist working with Africa Uncensored at the Jacaranda grounds while taking photos.
“Our journalists, Calvin Rock and Clint Obere have been arrested by unknown while covering protests in Mathare. We aren’t sure where they are being taken at the moment. This is uncalled for, an affront to our freedom to do our jobs. They need to be release now,” John-Allan Namu’s statement read.
John-Allan Namu, who is the co-founder of Africa Uncensored later confirmed that police took the journalists to Kayole police station.
Police hide number of injuries and deaths during protests
Police officers have also declined to reveal information on deaths and injuries during the ongoing anti-governmental protests.
The interior ministry ordered all regional commanders to limit access of such details to a few officers within senior ranks of the National Police Service.
“…it is advisable for you not to mention officer’s names after a serious encounter with not only riotous crowds but also criminals lest it is used against us. Let’s have restricted access to confidential information via email,” the order read.