3 December 2013

Kenya: MPs Suspend Debate On Media Bills

Photo: The Star
Parliament postpones discussing the media bills pending decision to adopt the president's recommendations.(file photo).

The National Assembly has suspended discussion of the contentious Media Council Bill 2013, and the Kenya Information and Communication Amendment Bill 2013 until tomorrow, where the house will decide on whether to adopt the recommendations made by President Uhuru Kenyatta or to revert to the earlier version of the Bills.

Even as the debate on the two proposed legislations has been pushed forward, an end may be in sight to the stalemate between media practitioners and the National Assembly after the Media Council of Kenya led stakeholders in reaching a consensus with the Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Communication and Information on two bills.

Media stakeholders had expressed reservations on the two controversial bills that among others seek to impose heavy penalties on journalists and media houses found operating outside the confines of the law and.

Media stakeholders are also opposed to the recommendation by the August House that seeks to have the government appoint members to a regulatory body whose mandate will be to monitor the media.

Earlier today a section of civil society groups and journalists staged a peaceful protest outside Parliament buildings. The protesting journalists submitted a petition to the president, asking him to to facilitate a quick re-assessment of the bills through the National Assembly in consultation with stakeholders, to establish a law which will not undermine democracy and the constitution.

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