We focus on a No photos: Places in Kenya where you are prohibited from photographing, filming. Popular YouTube star Miss Trudy went viral on Tuesday, April 18, after she was caught on camera lamenting that she had been denied permission to create content at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
The YouTube star claimed that content creators in Kenya had the right to film in any part of the country. While Trudy claimed that no one had the power to prevent her from filming, Article 24 of the Kenyan Constitution lists limitations of rights and fundamental freedoms.
One of the parameters where your right to film content is curtailed is whereby national security can be compromised as a result of your video.
The Protected Areas Act Chapter 204 lists over 200 areas where content creators and unauthorised persons are not allowed to film.
The Protected Areas Order, of 1976, lists the following areas as protected areas:
- Facilities and premises used by the President including State House, State Lodges and his residences and Harambee House and its Annex where the President and his deputy have offices respectively.
- Kenya Army Headquarters at Waterworks Camp, Hill Estate
- All Military Barracks in Kenya including those in Kenyatta, Langata, Lanet, Nakuru, Nyali and Nanyuki
- Kenya Army Ammunition Depots in Gatharaini, Nairobi, and Gilgil in Nakuru
- Kahawa Garrison
- Army Camps including those in Nanyuki, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo, Garba Tulla and Moyale
- Facilities used by Ministers
- The National Youth Service
- The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
- Kenya Air Force Aerodomes in Eastleigh ad Nanyuki
- Kenya Naval Bases in Mombasa
- The National Youth Service Camps across the country
- Directorate of Criminal Investigation Headquarters
- Police Dog Section Headquarters
- Police training colleges
- Police Motor Transport Workshops in Nyahururu and Muranga
- National Police premises
- Around Central Bank of Kenya premises
- Around Kenyatta International Convention Center
- All Kenyan airports
- All foreign Embassies
- United Nations offices in Gigiri
According to the Protected Areas Act, anyone caught filming in protected areas shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding five thousand shillings, or to both such imprisonment and fine.
“If any person is in a protected area in contravention of this Act, or, being lawfully in a protected area, fails to comply with any direction given under this Act, then, without prejudice to any proceedings which may be taken against him, he may be removed from the area by any police officer or any person authorized in that behalf by the prescribed authority,” one clause on the removal of persons from these areas reads in part.
The act further notes that anyone caught filming in protected areas shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine not exceeding five thousand shillings, or to both such imprisonment and fine.
We explore some key places in Kenya where you are prohibited from photographing and filming.
State House, State Lodges
The Protected Areas Order, 1976, lists State House and State Lodges as protected areas where no unauthorized personnel are allowed, and the same goes for photography and filming.
The order lists the restricted areas as State House Nairobi, Mombasa State House Mombasa, Kisumu State Lodge, Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri, Eldoret State Lodge and Nakuru State Lodge.
The headquarters of the Kenya Army, army barracks, police stations
The order also lists various army barracks across the country.
These include Langata Barracks in Nairobi, Kahawa Garrison Camp at Kahawa (Nairobi), Kenya Army Ammunition Depot, at Gatharaini (Nairobi), Kenyatta Barracks, Gilgil (Nakuru) District. Kenya Army Camps in Wajir, Garissa and Mandera, among others.
More protected areas include the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters, Police Dog Section Headquarters, Mathare Police Depot and the Provincial Police Training Centre and various police training centers.
General Service Unit Camps and training centres are also listed in the act.
Diplomatic Missions in Nairobi
It is illegal to film your content outside diplomatic missions based in Nairobi which include embassies and United Nations offices.
On September 12, 2019, the United States Embassy in Kenya stated that, “No luggage, electronic or photographic equipment is permitted in our waiting room or on other Embassy premises, nor are we able to hold these items for you.”
The embassy further forbade any other battery-operated or electronic devices such as computer tablets, digital diaries, pagers, cameras, MP3s, laptops, or portable music players and wearable devices such as Google glasses or body cameras within its premises.
The regulations, dubbed new entry policy, notes: “You will not be allowed to enter the U.S. Embassy for your appointment carrying any of the following items; any other battery-operated or electronic devices such as computer tablets, digital diaries, pagers, cameras, MP3s, laptops, or portable music players and wearable devices such as Google glasses or body cameras.”
Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
The State Corporation is also a protected area where filming is not allowed.
Central Bank of Kenya
Multiple reports note that taking photos near or in the CBK is not only discouraged but prohibited.
CBK is tasked with the role of implementing monetary policies, managing the country’s foreign exchange reserves as well as controlling the government’s domestic debt. The building is under tight security and you will probably not get away with snapping a few pics before being promptly stopped.
Kenya Ferry in Likoni
Due to the threat of terror, it is illegal to take photos or videos at Kenya Ferry in Likoni, Mombasa.
Guards are stationed inside the ferries to ensure that people do not flout the filming and photography ban.
The government though allows Kenyans to film and photograph the ferry waiting bay and adjacent seashore.
Protected Areas Act Chapter 204 listed Moi International Airport where Miss Trudy was filming as a protected area in 2011.
It was listed together with The Kenya Petroleum Refineries at Changamwe, and petroleum depots along Changamwe, Shimanzi and Kisimayu road circuits in Mombasa.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) further warns that it is an offence to photograph or film the National flag, the President, state lodges, soldiers, prisons and convicts and military barracks.
On March 2016, four British citizens were arrested by Kenyan authorities for taking photos of planes taking off at Nairobi’s Wilson Airport while they sat in a bar.
Airports are among the government facilities designated as protected areas/controlled security zones.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Security Regulations 2020 59 (1-c) states that a person commits an offence by operating a portable electronic device when such an act is prohibited.
Filming on private property without the owner’s permission can lead to legal action. If you’re planning on filming on someone else’s property, it’s important to obtain their permission beforehand. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will also prevent any legal issues from arising down the line.
Government Buildings and Facilities
Filming in certain government buildings and facilities, such as military bases or nuclear power plants, may be prohibited for national security reasons. These areas are often marked with signs indicating that photography or filming is not allowed. It’s important to respect these rules and stay clear of these areas to avoid any potential legal issues.
Museums and Art Galleries
Some museums and art galleries have policies against photography or filming due to the potential damage that flash photography or camera equipment may cause to artwork. If you’re planning on filming in a museum or art gallery, it’s best to check their policies beforehand to ensure that you’re not breaking any rules.
Concerts and Live Events
Filming at live events may be prohibited by the event organizer or the performer due to copyright laws and concerns about piracy. It’s important to check the event’s policies before filming to avoid any legal issues.
Theme Parks and Amusement Parks
Filming on rides or attractions may be prohibited for safety reasons, as well as to protect the park’s intellectual property. It’s important to follow the park’s policies to ensure that you’re not breaking any rules.
Prisons and Correctional Facilities
Filming in prisons or correctional facilities may be prohibited for security reasons and to protect the privacy of inmates. It’s important to respect these rules to avoid any legal issues.
Filming in religious institutions may be prohibited for cultural or religious reasons. If you’re planning on filming in a religious institution, it’s best to check their policies beforehand to ensure that you’re not breaking any rules.
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