News / Africa

Spokesman: Kenya’s President Committed to Press Freedom

FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta reacts as he attends Mashujaa (Heroes) Day at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Oct. 20, 2013.
FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta reacts as he attends Mashujaa (Heroes) Day at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Oct. 20, 2013.
Peter Clottey
Manoah Esipisu, Kenya’s government spokesman, says President Uhuru Kenyatta is committed to press freedom as outlined in the constitution. 

Comment comes as journalists protest some clauses in a controversial media measure that parliament passed in late October.

Esipisu says Kenyatta is following the constitution, which calls for an independent media regulator that is not subject to government, political or commercial influence. 

“The president believes that we have to conform to the constitution, [which] says media can’t regulate itself. And that the journalist must understand that you bear responsibility for what you do,” he said. “Having fines in the legislation just reminds all of us, who are objective journalists, that there are penalties for people who are a bit careless or who go out of their way to [break] the law.”

Esipisu says Kenyatta has called for the nomination of individuals to establish the independent group to oversee the media.

Kenyatta vetoed the initial legislation last week, but he retained some of its clauses and returned the bill to parliament for review.  On Tuesday journalists protested and said if passed the new law could be used to muzzle the press, undermining constitutional guarantees of media freedom.

Esipisu disagreed.

“The idea that anyone wants to muzzle the press is indeed far-fetched,” he said. “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.”

If established, the media-regulating body would review complaints in addition to penalizing the media for offenses.

Kenyatta has proposed fines of about 500,000 shillings [or $5,000] per journalist or a maximum of 20 million shillings [or $240,000] for any media group that violates the code of journalistic conduct, according to Esipisu.

David Ohito, a leading member of Kenya’s Editor’s Guild, expressed disappointment with Kenyatta’s proposal to “The Standard” newspaper.

“We are not happy and satisfied with the way the bill is. It is us who will suffer if it is passed as it is…We will profile those who will stand by us and those who will be against us,” he said. “They should not take us back to the past dark days of repression against free media.”

Some observers have called for an independent group, comprised of media professionals, to regulate the press instead of the plan lawmakers and Kenyatta propose.

But, Esipisu says the suggestion contradicts clauses of the constitution.

“The idea that journalists should regulate themselves would be a noble one, [and] that is how it has previously happened, but the constitution doesn’t allow us,” he said. “Journalists, somehow three years after the promulgation of the constitution, have suddenly found out that [it] does not allow self- regulation…The president or parliament [do not want] to muzzle the media.”

Clottey interview with Manoah Esipisu, Kenya government spokesman
Clottey interview with Manoah Esipisu, Kenya government spokesmani
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: James Ruei Majok from: Unity state Bentiu.south
December 04, 2013 7:13 AM
I wish UN to intervene quickly because if no more troops to be deployees it mean there will be no good solution in the country i beg all UN forces to operate peacefully in the country !!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid