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
"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
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 123 countries worldwide