The Bloggers Association of Kenya condemns crackdown on Free Expression

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) expresses its deepest concern at the recent arrests and intimidation of content creators. We also have information that the Government plans to arrest more content creators for their role in the recent protests against the Finance Bill 2024.

These actions by the Kenyan government represent a blatant disregard for the law and a worrying attempt to stifle freedom of expression.

The Kenyan Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression, including the right to hold opinions and to receive and impart information without interference. The recent arrests create a chilling effect on free speech, sending a message to all Kenyans that critical voices will be silenced.

Content creator @_CrazyNairobian was arrested on Friday and it is unclear where he is being held and the reason for his arrest. We urge the Kenyan government to uphold the law and ensure that those arrested are afforded their right to a fair trial.

BAKE Demands that:

  • The immediate release of all content creators currently under arrest.
  • An undertaking by the Kenyan Government that no content creators or any Kenyan for that matter will be arrested for expressing their opinion online or for supporting a protest.
  • A clear statement from the government guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression for all Kenyans.
  • An independent investigation into these arrests and a commitment to holding those responsible accountable.

We have also noted that during the protest against the Finance Act 2024 on Tuesday, the police harassed journalists who were covering the protests. We would like to remind the police that the Kenyan constitution guarantees the Freedom of the Media and journalists should be allowed to do their jobs without harassment or intimidation.

Kenya has a documented history of being a champion of free speech in Africa. These recent actions threaten to undermine that reputation. We urge the Kenyan government to live up to its commitments and ensure a free and open society for all.

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) will continue to fight for the rights of all Kenyans to express themselves freely and without fear.

#IFreeKe #JournalismIsNotACrime #BAKE