NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – A group of mass media enthusiasts and civil society organizations have come together to spark a national conversation about the importance of media freedom in Kenya following the recent shutdown of a section of TV stations.
Titled ‘the changing landscape of media in Kenya’, the panel discussion will take place on Thursday from 4pm at Daystar University, Valley Road and brings together thought leaders in Kenya’s media landscape drawn from academia, civil society and government.
Organized by the Political Leadership and Governance Programme (PLGP) Alumni Network, Victor Bwire of the Media Council of Kenya, Henry Maina of Article 19, Hassan Kulundu of the Editor’s Guild, Catherine Gicheru of Code for Kenya and Daystar University’s Dean of Communication Professor Levi Obonyo will be the panellists.
Among the questions the panellists will be discussing includes, how can the 4th Estate entrench respect for Article 34 of the constitution?
What should be expected from a journalist? How can they maintain autonomy?
How can the media play an important role in furthering democracy and good governance in Kenya?
Capital FM News associate editor Olive Burrows will be moderating the panel discussions.
In what has been perceived as a shrinking media space in Kenya, the discussion seeks to stir a conversation on the importance of the freedom of the media for the nation’s growth as enshrined in Kenya’s constitution under Article 34.
While the media in Kenya has historically been called out as a leading light in Africa, in an unprecedented move, the government moved to shut a section of the media on January 30 when Opposition leader Raila Odinga was scheduled to take the oath of office as the people’s president.
The move attracted a barrage of condemnation with Article 19 CEO Henry Maina challenging the government to acknowledge the role of the media in achieving their ‘Big Four’ agenda.
“The government cannot achieve its Big four agenda without the media,” that’s the message that human rights and media freedom defenders told the government following CS Fred Matiangi’s insistence that the shut stations would remain off-air until further notice.
The TV stations that were shut down included NTV, KTN News, Citizen TV and Inooro TV. While NTV and KTN news were switched back on the air, Citizen TV and Inooro TV still remain shut.