THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN AFRICA WELCOMES THE INTERIM AMENDMENTS TO THE KENYA COMMUNICATIONS (AMENDMENT) ACT 2009
The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Ms Pansy Tlakula, welcomes the recent introduction by the Government of the Republic of Kenya to Parliament of the Statute (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill (the amendment Bill), to amend some provisions of the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act 2009 (the Kenya Media Law).
The Special Rapporteur is pleased that the amendment provides for the establishment of a Broadcast Content Advisory Council, mandated to manage the content of television and radio broadcasts as opposed to the vesting of this same power exclusively in the Minister of Information and Telecommunications, under the Kenya Media Law.
She welcomes the fact that the Amendment Bill, has dispensed with the provisions of Section 88 (1) of the Kenya Media Law, which conferred wide powers on the Minister of Internal Security interalia to order the temporary possession of any telecommunication or radio communication station or apparatus within Kenya and also to direct the cessation of transmission of radio stations, intercept transmission of telecommunication messages and intercept or detain postal articles.
The Special Rapporteur applauds the spirit of dialogue between the Kenyan Government and representatives of media practioners in Kenya, through which these amendments have been successfully introduced, and urges the Government of the Republic of Kenya, to take the necessary steps to ensure that these interim amendments come into operation without any unnecessary delay.
Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur urges the speedy commencement of the requisite process for a more holistic amendment to the Kenya Media Law. She urges the Government of the Republic of Kenya to ensure that in undertaking such process, it engages in further dialogue with the relevant stakeholders, including media representatives and the Kenyan populace at large. Most importantly, she urges the Kenyan Government to ensure that this more comprehensive amendment, complies fully with all relevant regional and international standards on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.