Kenya: UK Launches Programme to Support Media Freedom in Kenya

The British government is launching a new programme meant to support free media in Kenya, adding to its latest campaigns to improve independent journalism.

UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott, revealed on Tuesday her government was launching the Our PROTECT programme which will target crucial players in the media sector and support their work environment.

The programme will target players in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu through local civil society partners such as Article19, Hivos, International Centre for Not for profit Law and Internews.

"It is a holistic programme, meaning it is not just involved in the training or mentoring of individual journalists," Ms Marriott said in Nairobi .

"It will provide grants to other organisations, for example the Mzalendo Trust which monitors Parliament and the Civil Society Reference Group, and will also give grants directly to journalists in Mombasa and Kisumu to support the production of data journalism stories."

Five areas of focus

Ms Marriott, who spoke at a virtual event hosted by the Kenya Editors' Guild Press Club on Monday, said the UK will invest more in independent reporting to help press institutions monitor the government, opposition, corporate bodies and other sectors.

The Our PROTECT Programme will have five different areas of focus including use of data to check government excesses, service delivery, policy reviews and a programme to support female journalists.

It will also have a segment for training media houses on new business models and promoting civic education.

It has already been launched in Mombasa and Kisumu and published a status report on the safety of journalists released on World Press Freedom Day.

The UK government and partners will also train journalists and run a mentorship programme on data journalism.

The High Commissioner spoke a week after UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, pledged more support for independent journalism as Kenya and the world marked World Press Freedom Day last week.

Ms Marriot said the UK will work with other governments, including Canada, to sustain the Media Freedom Campaign launched in 2019.

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