European Union and US urge respect for media, speech freedoms

February 2, 2018 8:43 am
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It is important that all actors respect the Kenyan constitution and the rule of law. It also means the respect of freedoms of assembly, media and speech and implies lifting any ban on media operating within the law/EU

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – The European Union and the US have urged the government to respect freedoms of assembly, media and speech following the crackdown on Citizen, Nation and KTN broadcasters.

In a statement, EU’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Spokesperson Catherine Ray stated that in the current situation within Kenya, it is important that all actors respect the Constitution and rule of law.

“Kenya’s election year is over, and the challenges laid bare by the electoral process will have to be addressed. All actors should contribute to calm. The Kenyan people now have the opportunity to take the country forward and work together on their historical path towards democracy and development,” she stated.

She asserted that this includes recognising the outcome of the elections and the re-election of President Kenyatta.

Ray further explained that this also means respecting the freedoms of assembly, media and speech as well as lifting any ban on media operating within the law.

The US criticized the authorities’ crackdown on the broadcasters that tried to cover the inauguration of NASA leader Raila Odinga live.

The High Court however ordered the restoration of Citizen TV, NTV and KTN News’ transmissions pending the hearing of a petition filed by Human Rights activist Okiya Omtatah.

Justice Chacha Mwita also directed the respondents, the Communications Authority of Kenya, Interior Ministry and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi not to interfere with their transmissions till then.

In his application, Omtatah submitted that the switch off was contrary to the dictates of Articles 10, 47, 73(1), 129 and 153(4) of the Constitution, the Fair Administrative Action Act, and the Statutory Instruments Act.

He stated that the switch-off was grossly arbitrary, disproportionate, oppressive, and unreasonable adding that it constitutes illegality, unlawfulness, unreasonableness, and irrationality.

He further stated that the action went against the Constitution and that there was no provision in law to support the shutdown.

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