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Ezekiel Mutua's directives amounts to misdirected censorship

By The Standard | May 23rd 2016

Kenya Film Classification Board Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua, warns media houses to air the Monday demonstrations by the Opposition CORD coalition after the watershed hour of 10pm.

This comes weeks after a similar ban by Mr Mutua regarding the airing of advertisements featuring betting, contraceptives and alcoholic drinks between specific time frames. Mr Mutua's contention, though largely conjectural is that between 5am and 10 pm, children are still awake and must not be exposed to such content.

However, Mr Mutua's latest demands are an assault on a free media that has a self-regulatory mechanism. Directing the media on when to air which programmes amounts to censorship and negates the public's right to real time news and the freedom of the media. Such live coverage helps the public make informed decisions on what to do to avoid the theatre of confrontation. A blackout gives room for propaganda and rumours, an outcome far more worse than the perceived consequence of airing the demos live.

Yet it is doubtful that Mr Mutua's decrees are within his mandate, which is why the media is not bound by them. News coverage will continue to be done within the bounds of professionalism without unnecessary external interference.

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