Kenyan legislators pass controversial bill

Kenya’s National Assembly has approved all the recommendations presented by President Uhuru Kenyatta on the contentious Kenya Information and Communications Amendment (KICA) Bill which has seen journalists protest across the country.

This comes after the Media Council of Kenya struck a deal with the Parliamentary Committee on Energy Communications and Information to amend the contentious issues in the KICA bill to only regulate infrastructure issues.

The Kenya Editor’s Guild, Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and the Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) have said they will continue to lobby MPs for amendments in the shortest time possible in order to restore and protect freedom and independence of the media.

“It is a dark moment for Kenya’s robust media environment when laws that will reverse gains made on freedom of expression and independence of the media from state interference, have been rubber-stamped by the national assembly,” they said.

Macharia Gaitho, the Editors Guild chairman, said: “We were taken aback that attempts to strike a middle ground and navigate Kenya out of the contentious issues raise by media stakeholders were ignored.”

The organisations have maintained that the laws passed by parliament are an insult to media freedom and ultimately aim to gag the media through hefty fines and penalties, saying they will move to court to challenge the bill as well as hold other demonstrations.

“We will meet on Monday and decide when to hold the next round of protests,” David Ohito, vice chairman of the Editors Guild said.

HumanIPO reported on Tuesday Kenyan journalists and stakeholders held demonstrations across the country to protest against President Kenyatta’s changes to the KICA bill, which they said was worse than the original law.

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