The Media Institute (MI) is a non-governmental organization that promotes a free, independent, pluralistic and sustainable media environment in Eastern Africa. Established in 1996, the Institute has been at the forefront of monitoring and advocating freedom of expression more particularly in Kenya, but also increasingly in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, where its activities have extended.
Initially established in Kenya, the Institute closed down after five years in 2003 after the 2002 elections, which brought to power a coalition believed to be committed to entrenching democracy, the rule of law and human rights. At the time, the Institute decided to close in the belief that its advocacy activities would no longer be needed in the new democratizing environment.
In 2006, after a series of government assaults on the media, and particularly the mercenary attack on the Standard Group’s in March, the Media Institute reopened to pursue its old mandate as well as offer protection and legal aid to journalists in distress.
The Institute is comprised of a board of seven members drawn from legal, human rights and journalism activism that provides strategic direction to the secretariat headed by the Executive Director. The Institute engages diverse numbers of staff, currently standing at seven, to undertake programmes.
Besides media monitoring and occasional journalism training, the Institute publishes its flagship bi-monthly magazine, eXpression Today [ET], dedicated to reviewing freedom of expression issues and watching over the functioning of the media.
The Institute has been involved in streamlining media practice through periodic peer review, as well as by initiating, supporting or taking part in activities geared towards enhancing media professionalism and engaging the industry on issues, and lobbying for a free media environment.