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Journalists take to the streets to oppose draconian media bill

By RAWLINGS OTIENO and LONAH KIBET
Updated Tue, December 3rd 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

 

The petition also showed that the provision of the levy fine of sh20 million on media houses will also have the effect of forcing many to close down as there will be many litigants.

 

Standard journalist Geoffrey Mosoku added: “As professional journalists, we are not opposed to any form of regulation but we are telling parliament and the President that we have to live to the reality of the new constitution which provides safeguards for non-interference by the state on the running of media affairs.”

 

On his part, another Standard journalist, Ally Jamah wondered if President Uhuru has good intentions towards media freedom when he failed to recommend appropriate changes to the KICA Bill when he had the chance to do so.

 

Investigative journalists whose work requires them to expose crimes and corruption in the country could not hide their disappointment saying it would kill their field.

 

Standard’s and KTN’s senior investigative reporters Cyrus Ombati and Dennis Onsaringo are worried that if the bill is passed to law it will be almost impossible to do any piece that could offend a certain party or person.

 

“The stakes will be too high and you would rather to play it safe than risk being fined. Sh500, 000 is too hefty,” said Ombati.

 

“Our line of work requires us to do secret filming which the Bill forbids. If it becomes law it will definitely stall the work of journalists,” said Onsaringo.

 

He added that the tribunal will not be fair to the journalists because they do not understand how media houses operate.

 

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