UK launches media freedom project in Kenya

By Samuel Ouma

British High Commissioner Jane Marriott. Photo Editor’s Guild

The British High Commission has launched a new programme aimed to support media freedom in Kenya.

Our PROTECT, the new programme, targets the players in the media sector based in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, said the UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott.

The programme has four local partners: ARTICLE19, HIVOS, ICNL (International Centre for Not for Profit Law) and INTERNEWS.

Marriott said that it will provide grants to other organizations such as the Mzalendo Trust, which monitors Parliament, the Civil Society Reference Group. It will also issue grants directly to journalists in Mombasa and Kisumu to support the production of data journalism stories.

Speaking at a virtual event hosted by the  Kenya Editors’ Guild Press Club-media freedom in the East African nation, Ms. Marriott said Our PROTECT programme will focus on five areas that are improving the use of data to hold the government to account on service delivery; contributing to an improved policy and legal environment; supporting female journalists to have a safe and secure operating environment; supporting media houses on future business models; and promoting civic education on the crucial role of the media.

She stressed the need for independent and sustainable media with laws, policies and professionals to play a watchdog role on those in power.

“We need investigative journalists who spend days – weeks, months –getting to the real heart of stories. We need a media that holds power in all its forms– Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, business, civil society, individuals, your own bosses – to account. And we need journalists to be safe in their endeavor, working without fear of interference,” she said.

Marriot added that the British government and partners will also train and mentor individual journalists on data journalism.

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