Posted by: africanpressorganization | 21 December 2008

Kenya / The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Opposes New Media Bill



Kenya / The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Opposes New Media Bill


NAIROBI, Kenya, December 21, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today urged the Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki not to sign into the law the Kenyan Communications (Amendment) Bill 2008 that was recently passed by the Kenyan Parliament.

“The ICT Bill is a deliberate attempt to undermine and eventually remove the independence of the media in Kenya,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “The Bill as it is, blatantly disregards the rights to freedom of expression and press freedom as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and echoed by other international conventions that the Kenyan Government has signed and ratified, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

According to a press release issued by the East African Journalists Association (EAJA) which is affiliated to the IFJ and monitors press freedom in the region, “the Media Bill which was passed by the Kenyan Parliament on Wednesday, would introduce direct media censorship by the government and will give authority to the Interior Minister to declare a state of emergency and seize broadcasting equipment of any media house.”

“Censorship is derogatory to the work of the media and hence cannot be accepted in a democratic country. The independence of the media must be respected in order for the media to perform its role professionally. The Kenyan media is noted for its vibrancy and such a Bill will only stifle its development,” added Gabriel Baglo.

The IFJ therefore urges President Mwai Kibaki not to sign the Bill into law, but to send it back to the Parliament for reconsideration in accordance with internationally recognised standards so that Kenya can build up and strengthen the democratic gains and ideals that it has achieved over the past few years.

For more information contact the IFJ at + 221 84 201 42 / 43


SOURCE : International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)


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