Media undermined by coronavirus crisis
The 2010 constitution guarantees press freedom but respect for this freedom is precarious and depends a great deal on the political and economic environment, which was undermined by the coronavirus crisis in 2020. The impact on the media was particularly marked and, according to Kenya’s leading labour union, at least 300 journalists lost their jobs, while many radio stations replaced news programmes with music. Politicians continue to exercise a great deal of influence over both state and privately-owned media, which censor themselves to a significant degree, avoiding subjects that could cause annoyance or might jeopardise income sources. Impunity is the rule. Investigations into violence or abuses against journalists are still very uncommon and, as local NGOs point out, rarely lead to convictions. Journalists can pay dearly for covering opposition events or for portraying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party and its flaws in a negative light. Four commercial TV channels were shut down at the start of 2018 for defying the president’s ban on live coverage of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s mock inauguration as president. Pro-government activists waged a trolling campaign against the country’s leading media group in 2019. Election campaigns often see a marked increase in abuses. Journalists are routinely subjected to physical attacks by the security forces and the public, as well as to threats and intimidation by politicians and confiscation of equipment by the police.
103 in 2020
33.72 in 2020