The British High Commission has launched the PROTECT programme to support media freedom in Kenya.
Speaking at the Kenya Editors’ Guild Press Club – Media Freedom in Kenya, British High Commissioner Jane Marriott said the programme will support the sector in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.
“Over the coming years we hope our PROTECT programme will make an important contribution to media freedom in Kenya. It has four local partners: ARTICLE19, HIVOS, ICNL (International Centre for Not for Profit Law) and INTERNEWS,” Marriott said.
She added that the programme will provide grants to other organisations – for example, the Mzalendo Trust, which monitors Parliament, 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.
It has five main strands: improving the use of data to hold 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.
“We’ve begun discussing the programme with the Guild and it is early stages, so your input and support is very welcome. I hope to be able to come back in future and tell you more about what it has achieved,” she said.
Marriott also said that an independent and sustainable media, with laws, policies and professionals to serve society is needed.
“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.
She added that a free press forms a foundation for economic prosperity, for social development, for more open and inclusive societies. The open exchange of information allows economies to flourish.
- I am a young Kenyan interested in new media and dissemination of news and information as it unfolds.