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Kenya March 7, 2006
H.E. Emilio Mwai Kibaki
Office of the President
P.O. Box 30510
Republic of Kenya
Fax: (011.254.2) 33.65.45
Your Excellency :
The Overseas Press Club of America, with more than 600 members experienced in international media reporting, writes this letter to express our deep concern — indeed, anger — over the recent mistreatment of journalists in Kenya by employees of your Government.
As the international press has reported, dozens of masked police officers forced a television station off the air in Nairobi on March 2, and then smashed their way into a newspaper plant, disabling the printing press and burning thousands of newspapers. The TV station and the newspaper are owned by The Standard , Kenya ‘s second largest media company. Earlier in the week, your Government had jailed three of The Standard’s journalists, apparently in reprisal for a recent article critical of your actions as president.
The publishing company managed to get the TV station back on the air later and to repair the printing press, and even published a special edition with an account of the affair. Nevertheless, a grievous blow has been inflicted on freedom in your country.
In the political campaign four years ago that unseated President Daniel Arap Moi, the winning candidate said he “strongly believes that the right to information is a fundamental human right which should not be denied for political or any other reason other than the need to preserve the nation.” The author of that statement, Mr. President, was yourself, during your 1992 campaign. Apparently before you became president you did not oppose political criticism.
The members of the Overseas Press Club of America strongly urge you to return to the beliefs you expressed when you were campaigning for office, and to re-affirm your respect for freedom of the press. An apology to The Standard , along with compensation for the damage, is also in order.
Freedom of the Press Committee
H.E. Mutahi Kagwe
Minister of Information and Communication
P.O. Box 30027
Republic of Kenya
Fax: (011.254.2) 31-80-45
Ambassador of Kenya to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Republic of Kenya
2249 R Street, NW
Washington , DC 20008
Fax: (202) 462-3829
The Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kenya
to the United Nations
866 United Nations Plaza, Room 486
New York , NY 10017
Fax: (212) 486-1985
The Standard Limited
P.O Box 30080
Tel. (011.254.2) 322-2111
E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
William M. Bellamy
U.S. Ambassador to Kenya
Embassy of the United States of America
United Nations Avenue
Box 606, Village Market
Fax: (011.254.2) 363-6157