August 14, 2020

Bloggers to be arraigned in court

 

By Calvin Osiemo

The recent happenings in regard to the attack against the Kenya Defence Forces at El Adde Camp in Somalia by the Al Shabaab militia group has put Kenyan bloggers on the spot once again. This comes after Ex Ntv journalist and now blogger Yassin Juma was arrested for what is termed as misusing a licensed communication gadget after he posted photos of bodies of dead soldiers from the attack. However, police failed to charge Mr. Juma in Kiambu court as a result of lack of required documents according to a court official. Yassin was later released but was directed to reappear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Together with Yassin Juma, other nine bloggers are expected to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations today on Wednesday for further grilling over allegations of ‘misusing a licensed communication gadget’. The blogerrs include Robert Alai, Cyprian Nyakundi, Patrick Msafari, Seth Odongo, Charles Dienya, Anthony Mburu, Eddy Illah, Phelix G-Cord, George Nyongesa.

Cord members have condemned the act saying it’s a violation of the right to freedom of expression and access to information. Ugunja Member of Parliament Opiyo Wandayi has said that the government wants to hide something from the general public by curtailing bloggers freedom and other social media users who seem to differ with government ideologies.

“Kenyans should be very afraid when the government in power starts becoming fearful. What are they trying to hide? Bloggers should be allowed to express their opinions freely,” he said.

Migori Woman Representative Dennitah Ghati urged the government to tolerate criticism instead of oppressing bloggers who seem critical on the government.

“It is the work of bloggers and journalists to criticize the government. If the government does not want to be criticized then they should become pastors but even pastors face criticism nowadays so they should learn to live with criticism,” she said.

Siaya Senator James Orengo will lead other lawyers in representing the bloggers.

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