Is the Citizen’s right to access information infringed? Kenyan authorities shut down TV stations in order to prevent live coverage of a swearing-in event by Raila, who disputed last year’s presidential election results. The Government said that it was investigating the Media houses that had defied a directive not to cover the live coverage of the swearing in of Opposition leader as the ‘People’s President’.
The election was annulled following allegations of irregularities. Uhuru Kenyatta won a repeat election in October, but Raila did not take part. Uhuru was sworn in for a second term last November
Three privately owned television stations – NTV, KTN and Citizen TV – went off air from around 9am. Communications Authority of Kenya “violated the public’s right to information” by blocking broadcasts of TV channels that defied a ban on live coverage of the the symbolic inauguration of Raila Odinga as “the people’s president”
Following the inauguration of Raila Odinga as ‘the people’s president, the government has declared his ‘National Resistance Movement’ organization a criminal group, paving way for possible prosecution of its members.
According to the constitution, the Freedom of Media act, states that The State shall not-
(a) Exercise control over or interfere with any person engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication or the dissemination of information by any medium; or
(b) Penalize any person for any opinion or view or the content of any broadcast, publication or dissemination.
However in the laws governing media in Kenya, also states that, their right to freedom of expression does not extend to—
- Propaganda for war;
- Incitement to violence;
- Hate speech; or
- Advocacy of hatred that—
- Constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or incitement to cause harm; or
- is based on any ground of discrimination.
It also demands that journalists or the media should protect national security, public order, public health and public morals.
The three media stations are still shut as investigations are ongoing.