This statement was originally published on africafex.org on 12 April 2021.
The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) is profoundly dismayed by, and strongly condemns the gruesome killing of Betty Mutekhele Barasa, a journalist working with Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).
AFEX demands that the Kenyan authorities, as matter of urgency, investigate the murder of the journalist and bring to book the assailants and the masterminds of this crime. Kenya’s failure to do so will amount to condoning impunity for crimes against journalists, embolden other potential killers of journalists, and undermine the state of press freedom in the country.
On April 7, 2021, three assailants reportedly broke into the house of Betty Mutekhele Barasa, a senior video editor and television producer working for the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. The assailants took hostage the husband and children of Barasa, who was yet to return home from work and ransacked the house.
When Barasa arrived home, the assailants then assaulted her and shot her twice in the head, killing her instantly. The murderers also took away the journalist’s laptop and mobile telephone – an indication that the assault and the murder could be linked to her journalistic work.
AFEX sends its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Betty Mutekhele Barasa and mourns with the entire media fraternity in Kenya. We also condemn the dastardly and barbaric killing of the journalist.
Furthermore, AFEX urges the Government of Kenya to open a thorough and independent investigation into the murder of the journalist and ensure justice is served.
Any delay in investigating this killing to unravel the reasons behind this gruesome murder and to arrest and prosecute the culprits will cast doubt about the authorities’ commitment to fighting impunity for crimes against journalists. This could also spur on potential violators of freedom of expression and undermine media and journalists’ rights to play their constitutional role of informing the public, fighting corruption and bad governance, and promoting democracy and rule of law.
Members of AFEX:
Africa Freedom of Information Centre
Association for Media Development in South Sudan
Center for Media Studies and Peace Building
Collaboration on International ICT Policy in Eastern and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
Freedom of Expression Institute
Gambia Press Union (GPU)
Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda
Institute for Media and Society
International Press Centre
Journaliste en danger
Media Foundation for West Africa
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Rights Agenda
West African Journalists Association
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Source: MEDIA FEED