Upholding Press Freedom in the Face of Environmental Crisis

By Caroline Boyani

In Kenya, the cherished freedom of the press has been hard-won, with brave individuals risking their lives to ensure that we now enjoy citizen journalism. However, recent trends indicate a global decline in press freedom, driven by a myriad of social, political, economic, and environmental factors that pose significant risks to journalists’ lives.

Every third of April, we commemorate the progress made in the press space and honor those who have worked tirelessly to create a safer and more liberated environment for journalists and media personnel. This occasion also serves as a platform to acknowledge and address the challenges faced by media professionals.

This year’s theme, “A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of Environmental Crisis,” underscores the vital role journalists play in informing, educating, and holding leaders accountable, especially amidst environmental challenges. Currently, Kenya grapples with heavy rainfall resulting in loss of lives and property destruction. Despite transportation disruptions, journalists remain steadfast in their commitment to their duties.

However, power outages caused by the inclement weather pose additional challenges, particularly for smaller media outlets. Lack of access to technological devices like drones and satellites further exacerbates their predicament, creating an uneven playing field compared to their better-equipped counterparts.

Like any other profession, journalists deserve respect and support. Governments and NGOs should provide grants and enhanced protection to media personnel, particularly in navigating hostile environments such as civil unrest and natural disasters. Together, we must strive to cultivate a safe environment and promote citizen journalism, empowering everyone to hold leaders accountable for their actions.

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