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Journalists take to the streets to oppose draconian media bill

Updated Tue, December 3rd 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

It further adds that journalists are concerned with the establishment of the Communication and Multi Media Tribunal which has powers to impose huge penalties.


“The penalty should not be more than 100,000, the proposed sh500, 000 penalty targeting journalists is unrealistic. Out of the 5,000 journalists in the country not more than 100 can afford the penalty and this will have the effect of intimidating journalists, thereby undermining media freedom,” said Ohito.


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.

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