Last Thursday, Kenyan MPs gathered to create a bill that would give the government the ability to fine journalists up to $234,000 and prevent them from working if they breach a code of conduct. The bill came as a reaction to the Westgate shopping mall attack and the government’s focused commitment to increase national security. A video showing Kenyan police officers looting stores during the attack caused further resentment of the government towards the media.
The bill however, still must be passed by the President in order to take effect. “I shall look at the bill once it is forwarded to me with a view to identifying and addressing possible grey areas to ensure the new media law conforms to the constitution,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta in a statement.
Local journalists and rights officials are worried that the bill infringes on their freedom of expression. “This draconian bill realises the media’s worst nightmare, where government makes itself both judge and jury of what journalists say and how they say it”, said Tom Rhodes, Committee to Protect Journalist East Africa representative.
via Al Jazeera