The Communication Commission of Kenya-CCK has switched off Citizen and Inooro Televisions for attempting to broadcast the swearing in of Raila Amolo Odinga, the former presidential candidate of the National Super Alliance-NASA.
It came after the televisions carried live the arrival of NASA supporters at Uhuru Park in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi this morning for the swearing of Odinga and Stephen Kalonzyo Musyoka as president and vice president of Kenya respectively.
“We would like to confirm that this morning the Communication Authority disconnected Citizen and Inooro TV transmission,” read a statement from Wachira Waruru, the Managing Director- Royal Media Services Limited.
Adding that, “There has been no official communication as to why this action was taken. We are actively engaging the relevant government authorities to establish the reason for this action. We hope to resume normal transmission as soon as possible.”
The Kenya Union of Journalists has condemned the intimidation of media houses and journalists for covering the swearing in cermmony. “It has come to our attention that the Jubilee administration intimidated senior media managers not to air live National Super Alliance (Nasa) ceremony at Uhuru Park during which Raila Odinga and Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka were expected to “take oath of office”.
This is the second time meetings have been held at State House to give directions to senior media managers on how to make editorial decisions in newsrooms,” said Erick Oduor, the Secretary General Kenya Union of Journalists
He says that a similar meeting was held in State House in 2014, which resulted in the exit of Mark Kapchanga from Standard after authoring a detailed story on the Cabinet retreat in Nanyuki that had gobbled up millions of taxpayers’ money without justification.
“The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) takes exception to unprecedented intimidation of journalists and calls for respect to the Constitution of Kenya, which gives the media freedom to carry out its duties as a watchdog without influence from any institution. KUJ supports the position that has been expressed by Kenya Editors Guild on last Friday’s meeting at State House, during which riots act was reportedly read the riot act to those in attendance,” he noted.
Adding that, “We find it outrageous for the government to intimidate journalists yet it has an obligation under the UN Plan of Action, which requires that it protects journalists and prosecute those who violate the rights of journalists.” He explains that the media is guided by code of conduct as stipulated in the Media Act 2013, which if violated, the law provides for necessary steps for aggrieved party to seek legal redress.
Ekoru claims that hundreds of journalists have lost their jobs as a result of turbulence in the industry caused by oppressive government policies since 2013. “While other countries are offering incentives to the media industry to shore up their performance, which include non-taxation of equipment and newsprint, the Kenyan government can only resort to intimidation,” he said.
He asserts that intimidation and threats are so yesterday which have no space in a modern and democratic society like Kenya, where institutions enjoy freedoms that are well protected in the Constitution that cannot be taken away at a meeting.
Background to the swearing in
Raila contested and lost to President, Uhuru Kenya on August 8, 2017 with a margin of 1.4 million votes. He contested the poll results and petitioned the Supreme Court, which nullified the polls, saying the elections weren’t conducted in accordance with the constitution”
The Supreme Court ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission-IEBC to conduct fresh polls within 60 days. However, Raila and his team declined to participate in the fresh polls until certain conditions are met including the duisbandment of the IEBC, which he described as incompetent.
He rallied his supporters not to participate in the polls and stop IEBC from conducting elections in their areas. Despite the resistance, IEBC organised fresh polls that saw president Uhuru elected for a second term of office. Ralia declined to recorgnise Uhuru as president and vowed to get sworn in as Kenya’s president’s leading to today’s event.