IFJ Calls on Kenyan President to Reject Media Bill that Could Force Journalists to Reveal Sources

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki to reject a draconian media bill that could require journalists to reveal their sources in court.

“Protection of confidential sources is a cornerstone of press freedom and without it, investigative journalism is impossible,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “We condemn this dangerous attack on press freedom in Kenya and we call on President Mwai Kibaki to reject this draconian bill and on the Parliament to remove the clause compelling journalists to disclose their confidential sources.”

On August 2, the Kenyan Parliament passed a media regulation bill. The controversial clause in the bill states: “When a story includes unnamed parties who are not disclosed and the same becomes the subject of a legal tussle as to who is meant, then the editor shall be obligated to disclose the identity of the party or parties referred to”.

After months of negotiation between the government and the media community to hammer out a bill acceptable to all parties this clause was introduced in the agreed draft just a few moments before the vote.

The law is now awaiting the President’s approval.

Journalists and other media professionals yesterday held a peaceful demonstration in Nairobi to protest the bill.

The IFJ is supporting the protests by Kenyan journalists. The IFJ and its members have protested in numerous cases around the world where governments have tried to force journalists to reveal confidential sources.

“We support our colleagues in Kenya and believe that without legal protection for journalists’ confidential sources there cannot be true press freedom,” Baglo said.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries