Kenya Union of Journalists

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The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) is the professional organisation of journalists. It defends both the interests of journalists as workers, and of freedom of the press. The KUJ is a member of the Kenyan Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU).

Being member of a trade union in Kenya is still viewed with suspicion. For example, in January 2007 seven journalists from the Nation Media Group (which owns the Daily Nation newspaper and the Nation TV station and Nation FM radio station) were fired only because of their involvement with the Kenya Union of Journalists. The Nation Media Group has banned union membership for their employees.

The current Secretary-General of the KUJ is Eric Orina.

Harassment of journalists

One task of the Kenya Union of Journalists is the defence of journalists who were harassed because of their reporting. One example is the case of freelance journalist Peter Makori. He was detained without trial from July 2003 to May 2004, allegedly for murdering of two local chiefs. He said he was tortured during the interrogation by security agents. He was released after the attorney general dismissed the case and the High Court ordered his release.

The KUJ believes that, in reality, Makori was detained because of his investigations into corruption by local officials (Kenya is notoriously corrupt), and his reports on alleged murder and rape by a local militia, which had ties with the local district commissioner. Makori was arrested shortly after the broadcasting of these reports.

Media Bill

Another majorn concern of the KUJ is the new controversial Media Bill, which has been approved by the Parliament but which should still be signed by President Kibaki. The Media Bill obliges editors to reveal their sources when so ordered.

The KUJ is against the new Bill and favours self-regulation. They have been joined in their protests by several political parties and the churches, who warn that this Bill would turn back the clock to the days of former dictator Daniel arap Moi, who gave up power in 2002.

Since 2002, freedom of the press has increased much. But also current president Kibaki has a tensed relationship with the media. In 2006, armed and masked security men raided the offices of The Standard, the second newspaper of Kenya, and took it’s TV channel KTN out of the air. They alleged the newspaper was inciting ethnic hatred. The government is seen as the force behind the raid.


Kenya Union of Journalists
Sixth Floor, Ukulima Co-operative House
County Road, Off Haile Selassie Avenue
Nairobi, Kenya
PO Box 47035-00100 Nairobi
Telephone: 254-02-250.880

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