, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Broadcasters NTV, Citizen TV and KTN were on Tuesday taken off air in what appeared to be the government making good a threat to shut off any media outlet that went ‘live’ with the highly publicised swearing-in of Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.
According to Nation Media Group’s Managing Editor Linus Kaikai, in his capacity as the Kenya Editors’ Guild Chairman, the directive threat was made at a meeting with select media owners at State House on Friday.
His statement elicited strong reactions within the media fraternity with his Kenya Editors’ Guild Vice Chairman and the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s Managing Editor Simon Maina classifying it as Kaikai’s “personal position”.
“There has been no meeting by the Kenya Editors’ Guild Executive Committee to agree on, and issue the statement alleged to have been sent out by Kaikai.”
Maina who attended the State House meeting also denied that they were given a “dressing down” or “read the riot act” by the President as alleged by Kaikai.
The Chairman of the Media Owners’ Association Hannington Gaya who was quoted by Kaikai in his statement, subsequently distanced himself from it terming it a misrepresentation of the meeting.
Musyoka viewed the Communications Authority action against NTV, KTN and Citizen TV as an over-reaction given the coalition is “still in consultation.”
Residents of Kondele in Kisumu according to Capital FM News’ Ojwang Joe, also, did not take too kindly to the government action; preventing them from following the events at the Uhuru Park grounds.
They also complained of a power outage.
Odinga in a phone interview with KTN News and aired on their YouTube Channel, also condemned the action as authoritarian before adding that he is open to dialogue with the government. “Whenever there is a crisis there’s also an opportunity.”