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

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 a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism 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.
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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
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 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 Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid