If you want to try and understand why Kenyan journalists are so haunted by what they witnessed and reported on in the post-election violence aftermath of the 2007 disputed elections, spend time watching these few disturbing NY Times pictures. http://goo.gl/qbMJHv
Unlike international TV News teams and foreign correspondents, local Kenyan journalists had to come to terms with the grotesque violence they’d seen displayed by their own countrymen and women against one another, often because they belonged to a different tribe or ethnic group. How those journalists have been affected has now been documented for the first time in a newly published study directed by Dr. Anthony Feinstein of the University of Toronto Sunnybrook Heath Sciences Centre. http://goo.gl/QkrZZj
The study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, is his latest attempt to dramatise the price paid by journalists who see and experience too much violence. Although journalists, as he’s discovered, are remarkably resilient, far too many ( nearly a third in the ground-breaking 2002 study of international journalists) do suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
What needs to happen now in Kenya is for news executives to start providing duty of care and see that those who are troubled are given help and not stigmatised or fear for their jobs if they ask for assistance. They must follow the lead of heads of global news agencies like AP and Reuters and the news executives of big networks like CNN and BBC and CBC and editors of major papers like the NYT and the Guardian and FT and underwrite trauma assistance programmes.