Media practitioners and stakeholders will now be subject to the Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Act 2013, after members of the National Assembly passed the recommendations to the bill from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Media Bill will however be without the amendments that had been agreed upon yesterday in a meeting between the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Communication and Information, and media stakeholders.
The committee’s chairman Jamleck Kamau withdrew the amendments that had been agreed on in a meeting with media stakeholders yesterday as the house lacked the necessary numbers to effect the thirds principle in discussing the recommendations.
With the President’s recommendations, a regulatory body will now be set up to monitor the activities of the media. Practitioners found to be in contravention of the media law could be imposed on a fine of Sh500,000. Media houses could additionally also be charged Sh20 million in the new laws.
Earlier this week journalists countrywide staged peaceful protests in opposition to the new laws. They said that the Sh500,000 and the Sh20 million fines could serve to intimidate journalists from reporting on the executive and the legislature’s activities.
Additionally the journalists said that the regulatory board would not be independent as the members are to be appointed by either the president or the Cabinet Secretary for Information and Technology.