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MCK reveals number of journalists injured during Azimio mass action protests

The media regulatory board has described the attacks on journalists as the worst since the clamour for multiparty democracy

A journalist injured and a camera destroyed

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has expressed concern over the recent attacks on journalists covering the Azimio mass action protests.

In a statement, the council documented 25 cases of attacks on local and foreign journalists at the hands of state and non-state actors since the start of the demonstrations.

On the first day of the demonstrations, the council reported 20 cases of attacks, harassment and arrests. The number has since increased to 25, with some journalists suffering serious body injuries.

According to the council, camerapersons and photographers have been the most targeted by perpetrators of acts of hooliganism and criminality.

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The CEO of MCK, David Omwoyo, condemned the attacks, stating that the attack on journalists was an attack on democracy in the country.

"Journalists are not contestants in the current political processes and it is an unwarranted, gross violation of human rights and an impediment to democracy to target them, while knowing they have a duty to inform the public on such matters of public interest," Omwoyo said.

The council is urging journalists to exercise caution while in the field and to report any incidents of harassment or attacks to the relevant authorities. Omwoyo emphasized the importance of risk assessment and safety measures.

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"We encourage editors and reporters preparing for assignment to prioritize risk assessment while in the field including boarding politicians’ vehicles and wearing appropriate safety gear for protection," read the statement by MCK.

The MCK also called on media houses to provide adequate training and equipment to journalists covering high-risk assignments. Omwoyo emphasized the need for authorities to take action to ensure the safety of journalists and to hold those responsible for the attacks.

In Thursday's protests, six journalists were seriously injured by protestors and police officers and their equipment destroyed.

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The case was similar in Monday's protests as journalists were robbed off their personal property with their equipment also being targeted.

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