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Media freedom in Kenya to be reduced after MPs pass draconian law

Updated Thu, October 31st 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

The punitive fines will be imposed by a five-member tribunal strictly appointed by a team appointed by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Information and Communication, Dr Fred Matiang’i. The tribunal will also have powers to de-register journalists.

On the face of it, the MPs argued that by creating the Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal, they were trying to guarantee the independence of the body from the industry players.

But they have given the body the power to adjudicate on complaints by “any person” in stories carried in the newspapers, the conduct of journalists, and other matters that are likely to hinder the practice of journalism as hitherto practiced.

They gave the tribunal sweeping powers to “make any supplementary or ancillary orders or directions that it may consider necessary for carrying into effect orders or directives”.

Johnson Sakaja (nominated) moved the amendment on having a quota for local content: “  Once this quota is there, the media houses will invest so that at the end of the day, we make sure that we have quality in the production of local content.”

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