, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – The Kenya Editors Guild, Kenya Union of Journalists and Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA) have taken Information and Communication Secretary Fred Matiang’i to court for gazetting vacancies in the Media Council of Kenya and for moving to constitute the Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal.
The three media organisations through their lawyer James Orengo contend that any appointments made from the advertised vacancies would be illegal as the Media Council Act and Kenya Information and Communications Amendment Act of 2013, on which they are based, contravene the Constitution.
“If the conservatory order sought is not granted it will compound the invalidity of the two Acts and will create illegal and unconstitutional bodies or organs of the State,” their petition reads.
They therefore want the High Court to suspend the recruitment process pending the hearing and determination of a previous petition they had filed through lawyer Paul Muite challenging the legality of the two Acts.
Should the court fail to do so, they argue, the public will incur unnecessary recruitment expenses in the event the court rules in their favour and declares the two Acts unconstitutional.
In their initial petition, the three representative bodies argue that the Acts impinge on the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press.
The Media Council of Kenya, as presently constituted, itself issued a notice on Tuesday assuring the public that despite the advertised vacancies, it remains in operation.
“The day-to-day operations of the council are handled by the Secretariat headed by the Chief Executive Officer. This is therefore to inform the public that operations/programmes at the council are running normally,” the public notice reads.
Matiang’i published the vacancies for chairman and members of the council and members of the tribunal in gazette notices number 186 and 187 of January 15.