The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Kiraithe Tips Journalist On Security Ahead of Poll

THE police have urged journalists to partner with them to ensure their safety. Spokesman Eric Kiraithe says the safety of reporters is critical for them to perform their duty.

Speaking yesterday in Nairobi during International Human rights day, Kiraithe urged journalists to report any attacks from the public and assured them that those involved will be punished. "The government recognises that the ultimate responsibility of protecting all citizens is her foremost responsibility," he said.

The global rights day is marked under Article 19 civil society group. This year's theme is; Bolstering Safety and Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders.

Kiraithe, however, cautioned journalist not to exaggerate the attacks, saying it has in the past contributed to most cases not being investigated to the end.

"While we would like to conduct investigations of any reported cases, we would like to inform you that some spicing normally interfereses with the results," he said. He praised journalists for exposing scams such as Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing.

His sentiments come as the country enters an electioneering period against a backdrop of accusations that media played a role in the post 2007/8 post- election violence.

Kiraithe said his officers will uphold the law and international obligations that Kenya has signed on media freedom. "These commitments clearly outline the importance of an independent media and we owe it to ourselves and to our citizens to make them a reality," he said.

On reforms, Kiraithe appealed for patience as the government rolls them out in piecemeal. He regretted the urgency under which the public was pushing for the implementation of key constitutional requirements.

Kiraithe was interviewed for the position of Inspector General, a rank he says will come with numerous challenges against inadequate resources and trainings for the force.

"Let us change the way we view police officers, even as we try to put in place structures that will enable culture and attitude change," he said and called for value adding police reforms as opposed to popular public ones.

"We need to vest a lot of professionals and knowledge in the force to ensure movement and accomplishment of our mandate. This will enable us meet public expectations."

Present at the function included leaders from the Media Council of Kenya, led by the deputy CEO, Victor Bwire and other civil society groups.

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