Why Kimiko de Freytas should not be allowed to continue reporting in Kenya

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As you are probably aware, the 14 Riverside complex came under attack from suspected Al Shabaab militants yesterday afternoon. Dusit D2 Hotel and neighbouring Secrets Graden restaurant bore the brunt of the attack.

Kenyan security forces responded swiftly to the attack and were able to rescue many people from the complex that hosts the Dusit D2 Hotel and other office buildings. Unfortunately there have been reports of fatalities.

According to the Interior Ministry Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, the situation is under control, although there was gunfire as late as 8am this morning.

The New York Times was among the first foreign news service to report on the attack and their coverage also featured photos from the scene of the attack. One of the images had dead bodies. Incoming East Africa Bureau Chief Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura was the journalist that wrote the article and she was among the first to Tweet the link to it.

Immediately the article went up, scores of Kenyans Tweeted her and the New York Times to be humane and to remove the offending picture.

The pictures, at the time, was on the header. Kimiko was immediately dismissive, in now deleted Tweets, and asked those complaining to contact the New York Times as it wasn’t her responsibility.

Meanwhile the offending picture was removed from the header and put inside the story.

She continued her tone deaf stance with a claim that it’s a New York Times policy to show dead bodies of victims of terror attacks. This is an outright lie as evidence of their previous coverage of terror attacks in the US and Europe shows. The New York Times went ahead on Twitter to back up her position.

It is a fact that the New York Times do not share pictures of fatal victims of terror attacks. David Wanjiru did a fact check of their claim on Twitter.

Kimiko de Freytas and the New York Times has handled this whole issue badly and they couldn’t pick a worse time. It is for this reason that we believe that Kimiko should not be allowed to work in Kenya because it seems that she doesn’t respect black bodies and Kenya to some extent. She doesn’t even have the temperament to be respectful even when she is clearly wrong.

We need better people reporting from Kenya and Kimiko is not it. We also need to kill the idea of foreign correspondents and have this foreign media organizations hire Kenyans who would have a better understanding of the country and the region anyway.

 

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