Truth About Viral Photo Of Police Officer Impersonating Journalist

He was wearing a pink sweater and light blue jeans as well as donning a grey cap.

Truth About Viral Photo Of Police Officer Impersonating Journalist
Cameraman Clint Obere of Africa Uncensored steps out of a police van during the Azimio la Umoja demonstrations on March 27, 2023. /TWITTER

A photo taken which purportedly showed a police officer impersonating a journalist to arrest protestors taking part in the Azimio la Umoja anti-government demonstrations is misleading, Viral Tea can authoritatively confirm.

The photo shared by multiple channels, some of which are allied to Azimio, showed an individual in plain clothes stepping out of a police car while clutching his camera.

He was wearing a pink sweater and light blue jeans as well as donning a grey cap.

Viral Tea has established that the individual in question is Clint Obere, a cameraman working for Africa Uncensored, and was taken when he and his colleague, Calvin Rock, were set free on Monday, March 27 by the police after intervention by  co-founder John-Allan Namu and Citizen TV's Hassan Mugambi.

Protesters gather in Kibra on March 27, 2023. /TWITTER

"After being held for 30 minutes by the police for doing our job, they've finally released us. Thanks to Hassan Mugambi and the quick response by John Allan Namu," tweeted Calvin Rock at the time.

The two journalists were arrested in Mathare while covering the protests with Allan-Namu expressing uncertainty regarding where they were taken.

Our findings were further corroborated by Africa Uncensored journalists, including John Allan-Namu himself, who reprimanded the channels for posting information on Twitter deemed to be misleading.

"On a serious note, you need to retract this. Clint is currently in the field and this may put him in danger.

"Again, this was taken when Clint and Calvin were apprehended during the last round of maandamano. It wasn't taken today or yesterday," Allan-Namu tweeted in response to a politician.

The subject of police officers posing as journalists to arrest protestors gained prominence after one of them was on Wednesday, July 19 captured on camera sneaking up on a protestor in Mathare and arresting him, all while posing as a photojournalist.

In a video shared by Africa Uncensored, a young man who was aggrieved after the police targeted his daughter, expressed his anger and was whisked away by a man who was among the people covering the demonstrations. 

A section of journalists who spoke to Viral Tea had however condemned the police tactic, arguing that this would incite protesters to attack journalists with the belief that they are disguised as police officers and put the lives of reporters covering events on the field, including protests, in danger.

"Now genuine journalists will no longer look the same in the eyes of the public," one of them complained to Viral Tea.

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) also released a statement condemning the police officer’s actions noting that his actions endangered the lives of journalists. 

"The Media Council of Kenya has noted with deep concern cases of security officers camouflaging as journalists covering protests with the intent to arrest protestors.

"Impersonation of journalists by the police is a grave unprofessional misconduct on the part of the police and endangers the lives of journalists in the line of duty. While the Council appreciates the release of journalists who were earlier arrested while covering the protests, the detaining of journalists was unnecessary, arbitrary and ridiculous," stated MCK CEO, David Omwoyo.

A plainclothes police officer posing as a journalist arrests a protestor in Mathare, Nairobi on July 19, 2023. /CITIZEN DIGITAL