This could end up being an interesting development in Kenya. Possibly a reaction to the events that took place after the elections at this time last year. I have been reading the two major independent newspapers from Kenya for the past few months. We will have to wait and see how this legislation, if approved, will affect the independent media.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
The Kenyan government has defended a contentious media bill which critics say is intended to gag the press. The Kenya Communications Amendment Bill, which was passed by parliament, gives the state power to raid media houses and control broadcast content. Information Minister Samuel Poghisio insists that the government is committed to press freedom. Kenya's press has feared for its independence since a 2006 raid on a TV station and newspaper offices. The Standard and its sister KTN TV station were accused of inciting ethnic hatred. The raids by armed and masked police officers followed a series of exposes about official corruption. In May 2007, parliament passed a media bill that sanctioned tighter media controls and would have compelled journalists to reveal their sources. Hundreds of journalists held a protest with their mouths symbolically shut with sticky tape, and the bill was later rejected by President Mwai Kibaki.