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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid