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IFJ/FAJ Stand by Journalists against a Draconian Media Bill in Kenya

November 6, 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) today have brought their support to the journalists' fraternity in Kenya against a draconian media bill voted by the national assembly.

According to the Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) an IFJ/FAJ affiliate, the national assembly has on 31 October passed legislation so that media houses can be fined and journalists banned from practicing if they violated the code of conduct for journalism. "This is shocking and outraging. It's a blow to democracy and free speech in a country that has always been seen as a model in Africa", said Gabriel Baglo, director of IFJ Africa Office.

KCA said a number of provisions in the Bill including the creation of the Tribunal with powers to impose a fine of up to Shs. 20 million (USD 24,000) for media houses deemed to have offended the law, and Shs 1 m (USD 12,000) for individual journalists represents the worst form of attempt at media repression ever seen in the country.

"Kenya Correspondents Association is alarmed and dismayed that the National Assembly went ahead and passed the Kenya Information and Communications Bill 2013 with all the attendant provisions that clearly threaten press freedom, freedom of expression and the overall democratic gains that Kenya has achieved over the years", said KCA Chairman William Oloo Janak. "KCA considers as selfish and short sighted the move by MPs, which numbered only 28, out a total of 349, to rush through this important legislation and falsely claim that there was consensus when clearly that has not been the case", Oloo added. "We urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to decline to sign the Bill into law to avoid going down the annals of history as the leader under whose watch Kenya slid so fast and so low into the League of Nations notorious for inhibiting press freedom and by extension the freedom of citizens to express themselves," he concluded.

"It's very shocking but we still hope that the President will not sign it," commented Mohamed Garba, FAJ president.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) have recently expressed serious concerns about the intimidation of journalists in Kenya and some provisions of the country's media bill.

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +221 33 867 95 86/87

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