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Journalists take to the streets to oppose draconian media bill

By RAWLINGS OTIENO and LONAH KIBET
Updated Tuesday, December 3rd 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3
Journalists staged protests along the streets of Nairobi Tuesday in disproval of some clauses in the Media Bill. [PHOTO: STANDARD]

By RAWLINGS OTIENO and LONAH KIBET

NAIROBI, KENYA: It was not business as usual in media houses as journalists across all media houses took to the streets in a peaceful demonstration to petition parliament not to pass the media bill in its current form.

Editors, hundreds of journalists staged protest along the streets of Nairobi Tuesday to protest against some clauses in the Media Bill retained by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his memorandum back to Parliament.

With their tools of trade, they walked through the streets chanting anti-Uhuru slogans and gagging of the press freedom.

They cello-taped their tools of trade to symbolize gagging and wants the lawmakers not to pass the bill, but instead amend the punitive clause.

Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan while flagging off the demo outside Nation Media Centre headquarters yesterday and supporting the move said the media needed their own independent instrument of self-regulation.

“The Media Council needs to be strengthened to carry out this task,” Omar said.

He added that the Bill requires the input of the senate.

Editor’s Guild vice chair David Ohito said that the bill in its current form is full of flows and gaps that need to be rectified for the media fraternity to continue playing its watchdog role.

“We are not happy and satisfied with the way the bill is. It is us who will suffer if it is passed as it is,” said Ohito. 

He called on the Members of Parliament (MPs) to support media in being free and independent in their reporting.

“We will profile those who will stand by us and those who will be against us. They should not take us back to the past dark days of repression against free media,”

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