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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs