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SAFREA opposes harassment of Kenyan journalists

The Southern African Freelancers' Association (SAFREA) has announced its solidarity with its media alliance partner, the Association of Freelance Journalists Kenya (AFJK), and other Kenyan institutions as they petition against unwarranted harassment of media professionals. The 3 September death of journalist Joseph Masha served as the catalyst for the petition.
SAFREA opposes harassment of Kenyan journalists
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According to media reports, Masha's was one of five mysterious journalist deaths in the past year.

“Fair and balanced reporting is the hallmark of good journalistic practice, and our colleagues across the continent must be given the opportunity to do their jobs without having to fear for their safety or their lives,” says SAFREA chair Laura Rawden.

On 9 September, Nairobi-based journalists marched in protest against what they called mysterious killings and harassment of local journalists. Amongst such incidents they named the alleged poisoning of Masha, a journalist with the Kilifi-based Standard Newspaper, following his meeting with a local politician.

“Various agencies and actors of the government, and in some cases citizens, have taken it upon themselves to normalise, justify and rationalise harassment, stalking, physical abuse, online bashing, physical assaults, and in some cases attempted assassinations of journalists on the basis of unfavourable reporting,” the journalists said in a petition they brought to the country's Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Keriako Tobiko.

SAFREA is shocked and saddened to hear of these alleged incidents. The news serves to drive even stronger commitment to its new partnership with AFJK to form the Alliance of African Media Associations (AAMA), an initiative that acts to support the rights, skills and general recognition of media practitioners in Africa.

“By working together, it is our hope that we can strengthen the media industry and encourage support and protection for the journalists working in it,” says Rawden.

As Kenya approaches its 2017 national elections, SAFREA joins calls from Kenya’s journalism fraternity for national government to protect media professionals and encourage fair reporting as stated in the Kenyan Constitution.

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