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90pc Kenyans reject media law

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 16 – Ninety percent of Kenyans want President Mwai Kibaki to reject a Bill that threatens press freedom, according to a new poll released on Tuesday.

The Infotrak Harris poll that was conducted between December 12 and 14, shows that 89 percent of Kenyans don’t support the passage of the Bill.
Managing Director Angela Ambitho said media coverage on the Bill had heightened awareness among Kenyans on its negative content.

She said: “Ideally there was some hype in the electronic and print media in English, Kiswahili and vernacular languages in terms of what had happened in Parliament on Wednesday so people got to learn about the Bill.”

The controversial Kenya Communications (Amendment) Bill was recently passed by Parliament generating immense criticism, especially over Section 88 which contains proposals that are deemed as retrogressive.

Ms Ambitho said the study was commissioned to gauge the public awareness levels with regard to the Bill and determine public opinion on the same.

It however showed that of the 2,400 respondents countrywide, most Kenyans in the rural areas have little awareness on the contents of the Bill.

“28 percent to 30 percent of Kenyans do not know about the Bill,” said Ms Ambitho.

At the same time, a majority of those polled expressed dissatisfaction with their respective Members of Parliament, with MPs receiving a mean rate of 4.4 on a 1-10 scale.

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Ms Ambitho said MPs from Central Province received the highest rating of five followed by Rift Valley (4.9), Eastern (4.5), Coast (4.3), Nairobi (4.2), Nyanza (4.1), Western (4.0) and North Eastern with 2.9 rating.

She said most Kenyans were unhappy that both the Executive and Parliament failed to deal with spiralling food and fuel prices which they felt was affecting the high cost of living.

Respondents were also dissatisfied with the slow response to the plight of the internally displaced persons.

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