The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly condemned the arbitrary closure of three private television stations in Kenya.
The Nation’s Group’s NTV, Citizen TV and the Kenya Television Network (KTN) were all shut down on Tuesday morning, 30 January, by the Communication Authority of Kenya over plans to broadcast the “swearing in” ceremony of Kenya’s opposition leader, Raila Odinga.
According to national reports, Interior Minister, Fred Maitiangi, said: “The mock inauguration as the people’s president was an effort to overthrow the government and media outlets were shut down for their complicity in the event”. He further stated that the TV stations will remain close indefinitely until further investigations are concluded.
“The arbitrary closure of the television stations is a deliberate assault on freedom of expression and of the media in Kenya and shows a total disregard for citizens’ fundamental right to receive information , “ said IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger. “The media houses did nothing more than report on a major event of public interest to Kenyan citizens. The measure to close them down is an abuse of power designed to intimidate the private media and suppress independent reporting.”
The IFJ calls on the Kenyan Government to allow the three private television stations to resume broadcasting with immediate effect and without any form of hindrance or restrictions.
Mr. Odinga lost the Presidential elections last August but successfully challenges the results when the Supreme Court annulled the elections and ordered a new poll. However, the opposition candidate refused to take part in the second elections in which President Ukuru Kenyatta was reelected for the second term.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16