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Govt to scrap bad media clause

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – The Government on Friday agreed to delete contentious sections of the Communications Amendment Act that gave powers to the Information and Communications Minister to raid media houses.

The move was reached after a high powered meeting between Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Attorney General Amos Wako, Information and Communications Minister Samuel Poghisio and Media Owners Association officials.

Mr Wako, who read the statement containing the agreements, said a statute law amendment bill will be ready by the end of March.

“Section 88, which provides that on a declaration of emergency the Minister may take possession of any telecommunication apparatus, is to be deleted,” he said.

The contentious law was passed by parliament last December and later received presidential assent amidst opposition from media stakeholders. President Mwai Kibaki ordered for a review of the law following public uproar.

Speaking at the function, Mr Odinga reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the freedom of the media saying the government had no intention of cancelling the gains made in media freedom.

“It is in this spirit that the President agreed for consultation and consensus building in this matter,” the Premier added.

Friday’s meeting also agreed to amend section 102 of the Act that provides a tribunal on disputes to include two members, who will be appointed in consultation with the Media Owners Association. The consultations further decided to amend the Act to provide funding for the media council.

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