News / Africa

Kenyan Journalists Push Changes to Media Bill

A Kenyan journalist carries a giant plastic replica of a camera as he participates in a protest in the capital Nairobi, Dec. 3, 2013.
A Kenyan journalist carries a giant plastic replica of a camera as he participates in a protest in the capital Nairobi, Dec. 3, 2013.
Kenyan media representatives are working on a deal to introduce more changes to a controversial media bill.  The negotiations come a day after journalists took to the streets to protest the new legislation.

About 400 journalists protested Tuesday in Nairobi against a proposed media bill backed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and many lawmakers.

Critics of the bill, which is aimed at curbing alleged ethical lapses by Kenyan journalists, said the threat of heavy fines would stop journalists from reporting on issues of corruption and good governance.

Media representatives are now working to win the support of at least 233 lawmakers, the number needed to advance amendments to the media bill.

Kenya Editors Guild Vice Chairman David Ohito said one of the solutions was to try to address clauses in the bill which do not need constitutional provision.

“The committee has assured us that they can move both fronts, but they have also said in the event that they do not secure those required numbers then they are negotiating gentleman’s agreement to try address them within three months when the house reconvenes after Christmas,” he said.

The bill proposed by President Kenyatta calls for fines of about $5,000 per journalist or a maximum of $240,000 for any media group that violates the code of journalistic conduct.

According to local media reports, media representatives have struck a deal with the lawmakers that calls for all issues regarding the ethical behavior of journalists and media organizations to be managed by the Media Council of Kenya.

On Tuesday, the protesting journalists said the new law could be used to gag the press, undermining constitutional guarantees of media freedom. 

Ohito said the journalists' concerns were real.  “The fears are very real and founded on evidence when you become a friend of China, when you become a friend of Ethiopia, and even you become friend with Rwanda then for anyone who works in the media, you must raise your antennas.  The warnings are all in the wrong directions,” he said.

In an interview with VOA, Kenya’s government spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the government was not trying to censor the media, but the bill was constitutional.

“The idea that anyone wants to muzzle the press is indeed far-fetched.  This constitution has a timeline for legislation and this piece of legislation … has to come on stream by the end of this month.  But the provisions that are in there all conform to the constitution promulgated in 2010,” he said.

The media industry is warning of bigger protests if the government fails to make changes to the legislation.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous from: Kikuyu
December 05, 2013 1:10 PM
I wonder what happens if the bill is disalloed to kick, by the way, what happened to the then tranport controversial billl to all drivers. Each area whether in Constitution need be regulated. Have a lool, we fought for treassonable bill removee only to give thore in authority no room to rule withov harrassment. So, let vs think well before we we tìnk about it otherwise

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More