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Journalists  as Human Rights defenders

Journalists as Human Rights defenders

Katiba Institute partnered with the Media Council of Kenya to engage journalists on their role as human rights defenders and effective use of the access to information law. The training, targeting majorly investigative journalists based in Nairobi, took place on 23rd and 24th February 2022 in Kajiado.

Media Council of Kenya CEO Mr. David Omwoyo underscored the need to strengthen the role of human rights defenders to promote safety and protection of journalists, demand accountability and justice whenever human rights violations occur by breaking patterns of impunity to prevent future violations.

He lauded the partnership with Katiba Institute noting that journalists will enable journalists to be better prepared to cover elections and appreciate their role as human rights defenders.  

 “We have partnered with Katiba Institute to train journalists on the importance of access to information as part of election preparedness”, said Mr Omwoyo.

Victor Bwire, the Council’s Director, of Media Training and Development , took participants through the role of  journalists in promotion and protection of human rights. Mr. Bwire reiterated that  journalists are Human Rights Defenders based on their investigation, monitoring and documentation roles. He further urged journalists to always report human interest stories with a human rights lens.

On Access to information, Mr. Bwire challenged journalists to not only familiarize themselves with the Access to Information Act but also test its applicability by requesting for information from public offices.

Kevin Mabonga, Katiba Institute’s Communications and Public Liaison Officer, led a session on how journalists can effectively utilize the access to information law to get the required information. Participants were taken through steps of requesting for information as per the Access to Information Act , 2016. He also shared the experiences of Katiba Institute in requesting information.

Katiba Institute, with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, is  currently implementing a project that aims to strengthen the work of human rights defenders and enhance their protection in Nairobi , Lamu and Turkana.  The project identifies journalists as key players in promoting awareness of human rights and the protection of human rights defenders.