A Kenya Africa National Union (KANU) leader has criticised the Government over the current media shutdown.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi on Friday faulted the State for shutting down media houses following their ‘defiance’ to broadcast National Super Alliance (NASA) Raila Odinga’s ‘swearing-in’.
“Over the last four days, Kenyans have been in information darkness. Section 34 (1) is clear that freedom and independence of electronic, print and all other types of media is guaranteed and that the state shall not exercise control over or interfere with any person engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication or dissemination of information by any medium.” Moi stated in Nakuru.
Moi asked the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to reinstate the media stations as ordered by High Court on Thursday.
“The Government has ignored the court order and the country continues to find itself in information blackout with no one knowing for how long. Though the Government has indicated that the stations are under investigations, they do not have to be off air for investigations to go on,” he stated.
“Journalists are also finding themselves in a worrying environment of intimidation and harassment for doing their work. It should also guarantee journalists of their safety and working environment free of intimidation and harassment,” he added.
Activist Okiya Omtatah filed a petition on Thursday seeking to overturn the directive that led to the switch off.
He argued that the Government’s order was in utter violation of Article 33 and 34 of the Constitution, which guarantee media freedom and access to information.
Royal Media Services (RMS) Chairman SK Macharia sued the State over the switchoff on January 30.
Mr Macharia wants the State to pay compensation and get a court order barring interference with the company’s broadcast sites.
It is estimated that the switched off stations; KTN News, NTV, Inooro TV, Citizen TV and Radio have lost close to Sh30 million in advertising revenues per day.