In January, journalist Kamau Ngotho of the independent daily The East African Standard was charged with criminal libel in a Nairobi court in connection with a story detailing alleged links between the government and big business. The government dropped the charges six days later, after Ngotho was granted a request to challenge them in the High Court on constitutional grounds.
In April, Managing Editor David Makali of the Nairobi-based East African Standard's Sunday edition was acquitted of criminal charges stemming from a 2003 investigative article about the murder of a key player in Kenya's constitutional reform process. The article was based on leaked excerpts of confessions made by suspects in the murder, believed by some to have been a political assassination. In addition to ruling that the prosecution had not established its case against Makali, the judge said that to convict the editor would contravene constitutional guarantees.
On the night of May 2, the eve of World Press Freedom Day, first lady Lucy Kibaki stormed into the offices of the independent daily The Nation with six bodyguards and the Nairobi police chief, to protest what she called unfair coverage of her family. She stayed for about five hours, insulting and threatening journalists and slapping a cameraman who filmed her, according to local and international news reports.
In October, Anderson Ojwang', a correspondent for The East African Standard, was beaten by youths bearing whips and sticks. Ojwang' was trying to cover a government meeting in the western town of Kakamega that was called to raise support for a new draft constitution. The attack came after a government minister had asked the press to leave and accused journalists of giving negative coverage to those backing the draft constitution. The draft was rejected in a November referendum.
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