Kenya’s Tough Journey Towards Press Freedom

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Today its world Press Freedom Day but do you understand what FREE MEDIA NOW would mean to you and all of us?

Let me take you down the memory lane a bit. It only took 30 minutes

On Thursday, 31 October, 60 Members of Parliament debated and then passed the highly contentious Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment ) BILL,2013

Even though the President rejected an earlier version of the bill as unconstitutional and it was returned back to parliament, the changes did not improve the bill… they did not improve the situation.

Hoping for a better outcome, fingers crossed after media stakeholders’ outcry, the bill was forwarded to the President once again come December 5th 2013.

After some amendments the two bills were passed, “THE KENYA INFORMATION COMMUNICATION (KICA BILL) ” and “THE MEDIA COUNCIL BILL”.

The amendments stated that journalists will be fined up to Sh500,000 and media companies up to Sh20 million if a new government-regulated board finds them in breach of a government-dictated code of conduct.

It was a dark moment for Kenya’s robust media environment”.

The effects of these laws would damage the media and the right to freedom of expression which is unconstitutional as they fail to ensure that media bodies are free from government, commercial or political control and interference.

The law ““creates a government-controlled body with power to punish journalists and media houses for their work”“. Leaving us into question,

  1. DOESN’T THE GOVERNMENT WANT ITS CITIZENS TO KNOW THE TRUTH?
  2. DOES THE GOVERNMENT CARE ABOUT ITS JOURNALIST, OR ARE THEY AFRAID OF ITS JOURNALISTS?
  3. WHY IS OUR DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK?

I wonder how many times have OUR MP’s breached the CONSTITUTION leave alone the MPS even our very own President Uhuru Kenyatta but we can’t see any actions being taken.

Leaving me thinking ARE WE LIVING IN A DOUBLE STANDARD SOCIETY?

Did you know Once enacted, a “quasi-government” complaints commission will be set up example they would be able to ban newspapers if their content, including cartoons, was deemed to pose a threat to ‘national interest,’ ‘public order’ or ‘security’ without these threats being defined.

Let’s all stand united, the journalists need their freedom, the public needs to know the truth always. As time goes by it’s a ticking time BOMB  we are heading back to the dark old days THE MOI REGIME DAYS where the MEDIA and the CITIZENS had no FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION since the laws where a grave affront on the freedom of media.

The bill lacks a clear definition of what constitutes national or public interest, which means that this provision could be used to censor material without any checks on the council’s discretion.

Further ado we should all know that FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PRESS leads to

PROTECTION OF EVERYONE EVEN THOSE WHO CRITICIZE THE GOVERNMENT.

THE JUDICIARY TO BALANCE THE NEED FOR PEACE AND PUBLIC ORDER AGAINST THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO EXPRESS ONES VIEW.

ENABLES TRUTH TO EMERGE FROM DIVERSE OPINIONS.

As Malcom X once said “OUR LIVES BEGIN TO END THE DAY WE BECOME SILENT ABOUT THE THINGS THAT MATTER”

And what matters to me is  to #FreeMediaNow ,My Free Speech Is Not Negotiable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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