Communication Authority of Kenya disconnect Citizen and Inooro TV transmissions to blackout the Raila Swearing In on orders of Statehouse.
Citizen TV of Royal Media Services has been shut down on all free to air services for airing live National Super Alliance (NASA) Coalition leader Raila Odinga’s swearing-in.
This comes just a day after it emerged that the government had allegedly threatened to switch off and invalidate licenses of any media house(s) that will cover the contentious swearing in ceremony of Uhuru’s major opponent.
According to the statement by the chairman of the Kenya Editors Guild, Linus Kaikai, on Monday, January 29, the editors took issue with the summoning of media managers from the main media houses to State House, Nairobi last week where alleged threats of shutting down media houses if they cover the NASA event were issued.
“We have just learnt today that on Friday last week, a section of media managers and select editors from the main media houses were quietly summoned to a meeting at the State House, Nairobi,” said Mr. Kaikai.
“The brief meeting attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru and AG Githu Muigai did not bode well for the freedom of expression and press in the country,” read the statement in part.
“At the meeting, President Kenyatta expressly threatened to shut down and revoke the licences of any media house that would broadcast live the planned purported swearing in of NASA leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka on Tuesday. That direct threat has subsequently been echoed, off record by other senior members of government.”
the shutdown of Citizen TV and Nation TV by the government is a blatant violation of the law. The freedom of the Press is under attack.— Morgan Kinuthia
However, Mr Wachira Waruru, the Royal Media Services Managing Director where both Citizen TV and Citizen TV and Radio fall, has said that the media house is yet to be informed of the reasons for switching off its flagships Citizen Television, Radio and Inooro TV.
In a statement, Mr Waruru has however indicated that talks with the authority are underway to ascertain the reasons for the switch off.
“We would like to confirm that this morning the communication authority disconnected citizen and inooro tv transmission. There has been no official communication as to why this action was taken. We are actively engaging the relevant government authorities to establish the reason for this action,” reads Waruru’s letter.
President Uhuru and his government have on many occasions threatened the freedom of media in Kenya and according to Freedom House, Journalists are routinely beaten, intimidated, and threatened by state and at least 19 cases were reported in the first half of 2015 alone.
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