Columnists’ Joint Resignations Raise the Alarm About Kenya’s Besieged Media

Columnists’ Joint Resignations Raise the Alarm About Kenya’s Besieged Media
Journalists run away from a cloud of tear gas that was fired by Kenyan security forces to disperse a convoy of Kenyan opposition officials, Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 12, 2017 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world.

This week, eight leading columnists from Kenya’s largest media house, the Nation Media Group, resigned in protest of government interference and what they called a “loss in editorial independence.” The resignations come amid increasingly restrictive measures placed on the media by the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta, including its controversial decision to shut down Kenya’s top three television stations in January for covering the shadow presidential inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga, in defiance of the government’s demands. In an email interview, Gabrielle Lynch, a professor of comparative politics at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and one of the columnists who resigned from the Nation Media Group, explains her decision and discusses how press freedom has been curbed under Kenyatta.

WPR: What were your experiences like covering Kenyan politics? What motivated you and your colleagues to resign from the Nation Media Group?

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