News / Africa

Kenya Lawyers Urge President Kenyatta to Veto Media Law

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation on the Westgate shopping mall attack in the capital Nairobi, Sept. 22, 2013.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation on the Westgate shopping mall attack in the capital Nairobi, Sept. 22, 2013.
Peter Clottey
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to veto a new measure passed by parliament that would impose stiff penalties on the media.

Journalists across the country have condemned the proposed law as dictatorial and a blow to the country’s burgeoning media freedom.

Apollo Mboya says the media bill undermines the country’s constitution which guarantees freedom of speech. He said his group, Kenyans and the media are expressing concern about the new measure.

“Such a law is very draconian and can be abused, [and used] to prevent the media from informing the public, especially coming after the uproar with regards to the exposé that the media gave to the Westgate [mall] terrorist attack,” said Mboya.

Mboya’s comments came after Kenya’s parliament late Thursday night passed an amendment to Kenya’s Communication Act to establish a government body to receive complaints as well as penalize the media for offenses.

The punishment include up to shillings 20 million [$240,000] for violating a code of journalistic conduct. The proposed law would also establish a new organization that would regulate content for both print and electronic media.

Mboya said the legislation appears to be retaliation for recent media reports that depicted alleged security lapses, and the looting by security during the recent terrorist attack.

“We request the president to return that [proposed measure] to parliament and not sign it into law, then lobby for amendment to among other things remove the huge penalties and also the composition of this body that is going to regulate the media, so that it includes all relevant stakeholders,” said Mboya.

Some journalists say the proposed law will gag not only the media but private citizens. They also said it will allow senior government officials to use it to suppress dissent. Mboya agreed.

“That fear is very credible,” said Mboya. “A government with [these] kinds of powers proposed in the new law can use it in a very draconian manner.”

Mboya also said that the LSK will legally challenge the new measure in the Constitutional Court if President Kenyatta signs the new measure into law. He says the proposed law undermines the constitution.

“The elements of the amendments even casually looking at them [are] contrary to the bill of rights and to major provisions of [Kenya’s] progressive constitution,” said Mboya.”  As a law society, it is more likely that we will be heading to the Constitutional Court to litigate and pray that the court declares the amendments as unconstitutional.”
Clottey interview with Apollo Mboya, CEO Law Society of Kenya
Clottey interview with Apollo Mboya, CEO Law Society of Kenyai
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs