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Two journalists shot while covering riots, another assaulted and her camera taken, several others threatened with death

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 1 February 2008 IFJ media release:

IFJ Calls on Kenyan Government To Investigate Death Threats against Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Kenyan government to launch an immediate investigation into a wave of death threats against journalists after at least 8 senior journalists were targeted by a group accusing them of creating rifts in the country

"The Kenyan government must act swiftly to end these threats and ensure that journalists are not targeted during this volatile time," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. "These accusations are totally unfair and false and just put more pressure on our colleagues who are already working in very difficult conditions."

On Wednesday the journalists all received the same e-mail, which said it was from the violent Mungiki sect, accusing them of using their media outlets to create rifts in the country.

The threats came after photojournalists Hezron Njoroge of the Daily Nation and Robert Gicheru of the Standard were shot while covering riots in a Nairobi slum on 29 January, according to a Daily Nation report. The report adds that rioters assaulted a foreign journalist and stole her mobile phone and also stole three cameras from a local television station.

According to the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA), the threatened journalists include Nation Media Group Managing Editor Joseph Odindo, Talk Show Host and Anchor of the program News Bulletin Julie Gichuru, Managing Editor in Charge of Special Projects Macharia Gaitho and political journalist Robert Nagila.

Also threatened were four other journalists from Standard Group: Editorial Director Kwendo Opanga, Weekend Edition News Editor Denis Onyango, Managing Editor Kipkoech Tanui and News TV director Linus Kaikai.

Paul Ilado, a journalist with radio Kiss FM and the Nairobi Star newspaper was also targeted by the group.

The IFJ is calling on the government to ensure that journalists are not targeted with impunity during the crisis and are allowed to report independently on events as they unfold.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries.

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