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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs