African Press Association

Kenya ignores court orders, now targets journalists

from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THE Kenyan government has come under criticism for disobeying a court order to lift a ban on television stations that broadcast the mock swearing in of opposition leader Raila Odinga as president.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government flouted the order but instead widened its crackdown by planning to arrest three journalists from the privately-owned media.

The court order last Friday came two days after authorities switched off transmitters while Citizen TV, Inooro TV, Kenya Television Network and Nation were broadcasting live coverage of the mock inauguration in the capital Nairobi.

Separately, a court ordered police to halt attempts to arrest at least three Nation Media Group journalists.

The journalists -Linus Kaikai, Larry Madowo and Ken Mijungu- believe that police planned to arrest them and applied to the courts for anticipatory bail, was set at KSh10 0000 (US$983 or about R12 000) each.

Anticipatory bail is a direction to release a person on bail, issued even before the person is arrested.

The three journalists are due to report to the police headquarters in Nairobi for questioning tomorrow (Tuesday).

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said government’s refusal to abide by court orders was contempt for the rule of law and a brazen example of censorship.

“Every day these TV stations are kept off air and their journalists are harassed or intimidated further erodes Kenya’s position as a leader of press freedom in Africa,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa coordinator.

Fred Matiang’I, Minister of Interior, said authorities were investigating individuals and organisations, including media, in relation to the Nairobi event.

The so-called inauguration is the latest controversy in the aftermath of elections Odinga claims were rigged late last year.
CAJ News

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