DCMF met with more than 60 exiled journalists from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan to document the challenges facing exiled journalists
Ahmed Badar, Somali Kenyan journalist working as news editor for Star FM radio (a Somali radio station based in Nairobi) for the last 4 years
In April 2013, a delegation from the Doha Centre for Media Freedom traveled to Kenya and Uganda to document the situation of East African exiled journalists.
The delegation, composed of Senior Emergency Assistance coordinator Abdurahman Abdulbasit, DCMF’s journalist Peter Townson and research coordinator Marion Desmurger spent two weeks in Nairobi and Kampala, the two biggest hubs for refugees in the region, meeting with more than 60 journalists in exile and 30 representatives of institutions working for the protection of media professionals at risk.
The research report shows that, out of the 60 journalists interviewed in Kenya and Uganda, 22 experienced imprisonment at home and 30 were attacked while in exile.
As a result of insecurity and fear of reprisal, only a few continue to exercise their profession. Other challenges impeding exiled journalists from sharing information include high levels of (cyber) surveillance from government security agents, lack of access to information and restricted financial resources.
As asylum seekers, exiled journalists have limited rights and access to working permits and are therefore left with very few professional opportunities. Prospects of improvement are meagre. Out of the 60 journalists interviewed during this mission, only two recently relocated to a safer country, away from attacks by security forces and abuses from local police agents in Kenya and Uganda.
To improve their living conditions, exiled journalists are calling for more opportunities to expand their professional skills through education and vocational trainings.
Based on the information collected throughout this research, a number of recommendations have been formulated. They are mainly addressed to the UNHCR, UNESCO, exiled journalists associations, press freedom organisations, the government of Kenya and Uganda, governments accepting resettlement requests and foreign media outlets.
It is hoped that this report will serve as a starting point for further collaboration between the various parties involved in the protection of exiled journalists and improve the situation of East African media professionals at risk.
Source: Doha Centre for Media Freedom
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.