Kenyans online are an angry lot after the New York Times after it published photos of bodies of the Riverside attack victims in their story.
The photo taken by an Associated Press photographer Khalil Senosi had bodies of victims inside the Secret Garden Café. A writer of the New York Times article Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura who is also incoming NYT bureau chief for East Africa fuelled the fire with some insensitive remarks.
Kimiko told Kenyans who sought answers about the disheartening images told Kenyans on Twitter to direct their anger at the photo desk and New York Times.
Well, no, because I don’t choose the photos. Please direct your message to our photo desk. Thanks
— Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura (@kimidefreytas) January 15, 2019
As the bashing continued on, she was forced to rethink her responses to state that she had notified the relevant desk. In a bid to save herself from K.O.T, Kimiko tried to explain that it was Times’ policy to publish images of casualties as long as no faces were shown.
“It is Times policy to post pictures of casualties as long as their faces are not shown in terror attacks whether they happen in Europe and the United States. I’m not being dismissive, just explaining what the Times does,” she wrote.
After Kenyans online called her out, Kimiko went ahead to pen an apology writing “I apologize on behalf of @nytimes and @nytphoto for causing anger and anguish over the photos that have been published with our reporting. Thank you.”
The New York Times responded by saying that it’s important to give their readers a clear picture of the attack and that they take the same approach anywhere in the world, balancing the need to be sensitive and giving readers comprehensive reporting.
We have heard from some readers upset with our publishing a photo showing victims after a brutal attack in Nairobi. We understand how painful this coverage can be, and we try to be very sensitive in how we handle both words and images in these situations. https://t.co/Qjm0qBMaF3 pic.twitter.com/1sqgTnnVKW
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 15, 2019
Now Kenyans on Twitter are calling for the deportation of the incoming East Africa New York Times Bureau chief Kimiko in a trending hashtag #DeportKimiko. K.O.T has also made it clear that the unethical reporting by the New York Times is unacceptable. Kenyans shared their sentiment via the hashtag #SomeoneTellNYTimes which has been trending since last night(15.1.2019) after the publication went up.
Public figures such as Janet Mbugua and Larry Madowo have come out to condemn New York Times’ irresponsible reporting of the Riverside attack and their lack of heart by seemingly not caring for the affected families. Many have questioned the decision to use photos of victims of the Riverside attack in the story whereas the renowned American newspaper doesn’t post pictures of dead bodies in similar attacks in America and Europe.
This is not the first time Kenyans on Twitter have called out international media outlets for their insensitive reporting, in July 2015, after the fateful Garissa University terror attack, CNN called Kenya a ‘Hotbed of Terror’ but Kenyans were up in arms till the media house apologized.
Meanwhile, Kenyans online are standing together in solidarity in the wake of the Riverside attack where several Kenyans have lost their lives. Flooding the timeline, K.O.T continues to post positive, uplifting messages, beautiful pictures of the city as well as the words to our National anthem under the hashtags #KenyaUnbowed and #WeShallOvercome.
At the time of this publication(16.1.2018) the picture alongside the story is still up on the New York Times website.