LETTER OF SOLIDARITY. The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) has noted with consternation and utmost concern violations against the Kenyan media and media practitioners since the demonstrations by the Azimio la Umoja coalition began on 20th March 2023.
These violations are committed by both state and non-state actors and are jeopardising the safety and security of media professionals and their outlets.
Media reports and video clips on social media have shown violence against journalists and threats from high-level political leaders and police commanders, amounting to the gross desecration of media freedoms and freedom of expression.
MCT has noted alarming profiling of media outlets by personalities with huge influence in Kenyan society, and this obviously creates a dangerous environment for practising journalists, especially from the denigrated outlets, as they can easily be targeted by those personalities’ followers.
These acts against Kenyan journalists who are respected for their professionalism are shocking, to say the least. MCT would like to call upon all actors in the Kenyan political milieu to exercise restraint and respect for media freedoms.
A free media is the bulwark of a truly democratic dispensation, and Kenya has been a beacon of democracy, especially after the enactment of the 2010 Constitution. It will be very unfortunate if this beacon is allowed to sink into the abyss of intolerance.
The Media Council of Tanzania, therefore, takes this opportunity to beseech all players in the ongoing political processes in Kenya to avoid any actions that might erode the right of Kenyans to be comprehensively informed at this time. Kenyans have the right to hear arguments and counterarguments posed by protagonists and to be informed of the ongoing protest and response to the protest. It is their constitutional and democratic right. The messenger should not be crucified even if one does not like the message.
Through this missive of solidarity, MCT assures the Kenyan media of support from their counterparts in Tanzania, assuring them that we are following closely what is going on as they carry out their mandate to inform Kenyans objectively, professionally and comprehensively. To our brothers and sisters in the Kenya media fraternity, we say, soldier on!
Kajubi D. Mukajanga
MCT Executive Secretary and East Africa Press Councils Interim Chairperson