In recognition of the annual ”World Press Freedom Day”, the Inspector General of Police, Martins Okoth Ochola has stated that any form of attack on journalists must be taken seriously.
As the media fraternity world over continues to demand freedom through the annual ”World Press Freedom Day”, the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola has said any form of attack on journalists must be brought to light.
“To uphold this role, the IGP send out a very strong reminder to all territorial commanders, that any attacks against journalists, are unacceptable and must not go unpunished,” Ochola said in his message wishing all media practitioners a happy world press freedom day.
He explained that initially, press freedom was about the right to receive and impart information before the public fully acknowledged the role that journalists and media practitioners play in providing information to society.
Ochola shared his appreciation for the much-improved relations between the police and the media. For instance, he said, this year alone, there has been a tremendous reduction in the use of teargas as a crowd dispersal method and very few incidents of physical attacks, on journalists and disruption of media workers.
“This has been attributed to the adequate training, extended to all police officers on the roles and functions of journalists, as well as regular refresher courses on media roles and policing.
He further added that acts of interference and obstruction of journalism work, like seizing or damaging cameras, intimidation and other disruptive behaviour had reduced, due to the increased levels of awareness and sensitization on media roles,” Ochola said.
He noted that to continue upholding this role, the police have been trained that they should always act quickly in situations where journalists are threatened and initiate prompt, thorough and transparent investigations to have the perpetrators brought to book.
He promised that also the office of the Police Press and Public Relations, will continue fast-tracking all incidents involving journalists, including citizen journalists and ensure their rights are protected.
“We pledge to continue working with media associations like the Editor’s Guild, HRNJ, UJA, Media Council and UCC to dialogue, in order to avoid friction or clashes between the police, other security agencies and members of the media, especially in times of crisis, electoral periods and during public demonstrations,” Ochola noted.
“Therefore, as we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day, the leadership of the Joint Security Agencies, reiterate their commitment to strengthen its relationship with the media. we are going to ensure you are better protected, as you strive to access information,” he added.