CPJ alarmed by parliamentary passage of Kenya media bill

Nairobi, November 1, 2013–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the parliamentary passage of the Kenya Information and Communication Amendment Bill on October 31 that will severely curtail press freedom in Kenya.

“This draconian bill realizes the media’s worse nightmare where government makes itself both judge and jury of what journalists say and how they say it,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “President Uhuru Kenyatta must veto the bill and safeguard Kenya’s vibrant press.”

The bill sets up a state-controlled tribunal that would set hefty fines against journalists and media houses in violation of a government-authored code of media conduct, according to news reports. The bill would also place strict restrictions on media outlets’ program content and their access to foreign advertising revenue, the reports said. The bill is pending the signature of President Uhuru Kenyatta.