AG receives media corrections for new law

January 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – Media Owners on Tuesday presented the Attorney General Amos Wako with proposed amendments to the controversial Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act.

Wako said that the Act was an urgent matter that required careful consideration to guarantee press freedom, and promised to meet the Information and Communications Minister to discuss the proposals.

“Hold your horses. This is a matter that should not be delayed and I have no doubt that the Minister will be convening a meeting to discuss these issues, but first of all there are internal consultations on what you have presented,” he reassured media owners, who presented him with the suggestions.

The AG said that discussions between him and the Minister will then be presented to the Cabinet since the amendments require changing a law that is already operational.

He further offered that during the discussions, media owners would be invited to give their views.

Presenting the amendments, Media Owners Association Chairman Linus Gitahi requested the AG to ensure the proposals were included in the constitution to guard press freedom more solidly.

Mr Wako however out ruled the possibility of Parliament discussing the Act when it reconvenes next week as it had been recalled for other reasons.

“It may be difficult to discuss this when Parliament opens because it was recalled for other reasons,” he explained, saying that the separation of the Broadcasting Chapter in the Act should be presented as a Bill on its own.

However as Wako gave hope to the media, Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim said that only Parliament had the power to overturn the contentious law.

Maalim urged media stakeholders and other institutions opposed to the Act to convince legislators of their concerns instead of blacklisting them.

“The AG cannot be directed. The Minister can be directed but they form the executive of this country, they are not the backbenchers. The majority are Members of Parliament and they will throw it back,” he stated.
The Deputy Speaker also absolved the House of allegations that they had a sinister motive in passing the law.


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