Female Journalists Who Clashed With Police

  • Female Journalists from Left to right: Caroline Mutoko, Sophia Wanuna and Purity Mwambia
    Female Journalists from Left to right: Caroline Mutoko, Sophia Wanuna and Purity Mwambia
    File
  • The journalism profession has traditionally been a male-dominated field owing to the long-held perceptions of the need for physical agility in the often turbulent work environment. 

    However, the last two decades have seen more women embracing the profession around the world and Kenyan women have not been left behind. 

    Many of them have had to surmount the same difficult challenges that come with the territory including arrests, teargassing, and threats of physical violence. 

    Caroline Mutoko is among female journalists who have made headlines due to their not so friendly encounters with law enforcement. 

    Kenyans.co.ke previews a list of female journalists whose paths crossed with law enforcement officers.

    Caroline Mutoko

    During the Jamhuri Day Celebrations in 2008, the event itself became overshadowed by the drama that ensued from the protests staged by angry Kenyans who were disgruntled by the then dire state of the economy. 

    This saw the arrest of Mutoko alongside Walter Mong’are, popularly known as “Nyambane” , Larry Asego and Felix Odiwuor Kodhe (Jalang’o). 49 other Kenyans were also apprehended by the sleuths.

    Mutoko, on December 15, narrated the ordeal stating that they spent nine hours at Langata Police Station before being released. She noted that the officers dealt with them fairly well except one or two who tried to bully them into admitting they were at fault to which the journalists remained calm.

    "The only shocking thing is that they could not tell our lawyers why we had been arrested. There were no charges pressed against us and all the time, they kept saying that they were waiting for word from above. Even then, they were not rude," she told the Standard.

    Mong'are on the other hand issued a statement admonishing the actions by the police officers noting the lack of respect to the media fraternity.

    "My arrest and consequent lock-up was a clear indication that the police and the force behind the arrest have no respect for the media. They could not even find grounds why they arrested me even after locking me in for a day and night," he said.

    Kenyan Radio Personality, Caroline Mutoko.
    Kenyan Radio Personality, Caroline Mutoko.
    File

    Purity Mwambia

    The investigative journalist alongside her counterpart, Frankline Wambugu and a driver were arrested and grilled by detectives from the anti-terror police unit over an investigative story that exposed security lapses at the GSU headquarters.

    The expose dubbed ‘Bweta La Uhalifu’ was due to air Monday night, on April 27, 2015, but the trio was arrested at their offices along Kijabe street.

    The trailer of the expose showed how the trio easily made their way into GSU headquarters in Ruaraka with an improvised explosive device, which later exploded in Ruiru, using a Peugeot Car they had bought.

    This, the detectives feared, would create panic and alarm Kenyans if the expose was to air as well as make a mockery of the office. The journalists were however let go by the officers.

    In a recent expose dubbed Virus Safaris which aired on June 21, the current Citizen TV journalist was on the spot yet again. The report highlighted the reckless nature of Kenyans in regards to the cessation of movement orders to travel to various parts of the country.

    The expose dubbed 'Bweta la Uhalifu" which highlighted security lapses at the GSU Headquarters.
    The expose dubbed 'Bweta la Uhalifu" which highlighted security lapses at the GSU Headquarters.
    File

    Sophia Wanuna

    The KTN News anchor made headlines, on March 2018, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) when police officers roughed her up on live television as she was covering the return of activist Miguna Miguna to Kenya.

    The outspoken lawyer had become a matter of interest hence journalists rushed to the airport in a bid to cover his arrival in the country. This, however, was not welcomed by the police who became violent and chased away the journalists.

    Wanuna took to twitter the following day to give assurance of her safety and wellbeing but condemned the assault carried out on them.

    KTN News Anchor, Sophia Wanuna.
    KTN News Anchor, Sophia Wanuna.
    File

    Winnie Chepkwemoi

    The NTV journalist was on Friday, September 11, roughed up by police while reporting live for the station's social media pages.

    She was covering Emurua Dikirr MP Johanna Ng'eno's procession from court when she was caught up in the melee. In a video recorded by the reporter, an officer was seen chasing boda boda riders when he assaulted Chepkwemoi.

    Her efforts to explain that she was with the media did not shield her from receiving multiple blows.

    The other officers, who were unperturbed by the matter, appeared to be concentrating on the MP's entourage which had blocked the road. The officer finally yielded to the reporter's pleas to spare her as he denied beating her up.

    A number of journalists have suffered at the hands of policemen with Media Council of Kenya (MCK) CEO David Omwoyo revealing that 36 journalists had been attacked while in the line of duty in Kenya between January and April 2020. 

    The incident where the police officer beat up an NTV journalist on Friday, September 11, 2020.
    The incident where the police officer beat up an NTV journalist on Friday, September 11, 2020.
    File