Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Journalists Face Threats for Kenyan Mall Reports

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Journalists Face Threats for Kenyan Mall Reports

Article excerpt

Journalists are being threatened with arrest days after footage alluding to possible looting of the Westgate mall by Kenyan forces was aired on national television.

Kenyan journalists have come under attack this week from the Kenyan authorities over coverage of the aftermath and investigation into last month's Westgate mall attack, being threatened with arrest days after footage alluding to possible looting of the mall by Kenyan forces was shown on national television.

Kenya's criminal investigations police unit on Thursday summoned John Allen Namu and Mohammed Ali, two Kenyan journalists who produce a popular investigative news show for the alleged offense of "unlawful sending of misleading messages" in relation to an investigative news show broadcast last week. The company's chief executive, Sam Shollei, was also summoned.

The show, "Jicho Pevu," on channel KTN, broadcast a Swahili- language and English-language version of the program last week, and again this week, on the mall attack and its unfolding investigation, including publishing video footage of Kenyan security agents seemingly looking through mall merchandise while searching for the mall attackers.

In a speech on Wednesday, Kenya's inspector general, David Kimaiyo, lashed out at national and international media coverage of the investigation, brandishing coverage as "provocative" and "inciting" negative opinions of the country's security forces.

The Committee to Protect Journalists called the summoning of the KTN journalists as "incredibly disturbing" and "potentially a sign of a downward spiral of press freedom" in Kenya. The country is known to have one of the freest and most robust media industries in Africa but is facing two controversial bills that could change the industry landscape by giving sweeping power over the media to the national minister of information. …

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