Journalists, activists protest new 'stifling' media law

Published: Thursday | December 5, 2013 Comments 0
Kenyan journalist demonstrators display placards during a protest against the media bill in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday. A media protest was called by various media houses to protest new draconian laws that are being tabled by parliament. AP Photo
Kenyan journalist demonstrators display placards during a protest against the media bill in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday. A media protest was called by various media houses to protest new draconian laws that are being tabled by parliament. AP Photo

NAIROBI (AP):

About 300 journalists and civil-rights activists marched to parliament and the president's office on Tuesday in Kenya's capital to protest what they say is an attempt by lawmakers to stifle criticism by pressuring journalists with monetary fines.

Many of the protesters sang songs while carrying placards. Others wore tape across their mouths to symbolise the gagging of the media.

David Ohito, the vice-chairman of the Kenya Editors Guild, said journalists want changes to the Kenya Information and Communication Amendment bill.

The bill creates a government tribunal that can fine journalists up to $5,500 and media companies around $230,000 if the tribunal finds them guilty of breaching a code of conduct that stipulates the need for accuracy, fairness, independence and integrity, Ohito said. Most journalists earn about $200 a month.

He said parliament created the bill to target journalist in anger over media exposure after legislators awarded themselves hefty raises soon after being sworn in this year.

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