Government refuses to switch on TV signal as court issues fresh orders

NTV journalists Larry Madowo, Linus Kaikai and Ken Mijungu address the media outside Milimani courts, yesterday. The trio had gone to sign their anticipatory bond pending their appearance at DCI headquarters. [George Njunge, Standard]

The government continued to shut down independent television broadcast in total defiance of fresh court orders that suspended the move.

Justice Chacha Mwita issued the orders in a case filed by Royal Media Services and the Africa Digital Network (ADN) on a day three NTV journalists got orders stopping police from arresting them in the ongoing Jubilee crackdown on the media.

“An order is issued stopping the government or its agents from stopping or interfering with the petitioners exercising of television broadcasting freedom. They are also restrained from interfering with the petitioners’ transmission sites in Limuru or any other place in Kenya,” ruled Chacha.

In addition, the judge ordered Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, his Information counterpart Joe Mucheru, Inspector General Joseph Boinett and the Communication Authority of Kenya to immediately restore and stop interfering with the independent televisions’ signals on Signet, ZUKU, GOTV, DSTV, Startimes and Bamba TV.

The government through the CA on Tuesday shut down KTN, NTV and Citizen TV for broadcasting the ‘swearing-in’ of National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga as the people’s president.

Matiang’i then issued a statement on Wednesday that the government will continue shutting the stations for an indefinite period pending investigations into their role in the ‘swearing-in’.

Black suit

But even as the judge issued the fresh orders, the Communication Authority appeared defiant and declined to be served with an order obtained on Thursday by activist Okiya Omtatah to force them to restore the television broadcast.

“When I went to CA, a man in a black suit who claimed to be a police officer blocked my access at the gate claiming that he had instructions from above not to allow me or any other person to serve the court order suspending the media shut down,” said Omtatah.

RMS and ADN in their petition filed through lawyer Gibson Kamau Kuria argued that the illegal government imposed shutdown had greatly caused them to breach several contracts and obligations to serve the public.

Meanwhile, Justice Luka Kimaru granted NTV journalists Linus Kaikai, Larry Madowo and Ken Mijungu an anticipatory bail of Sh100,000 to stop police from arresting them in connection to Raila’s swearing in on Tuesday.

Justice Kimaru however directed that they present themselves at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Headquarters on Monday next week.