Media bill may lead to lawsuits

Kenyan media representatives threatened court action yesterday after President Mwai Kibaki signed a communications bill into law despite protests the legislation threatens press freedom.

Kenyan media representatives threatened court action yesterday after President Mwai Kibaki signed a communications bill into law despite protests the legislation threatens press freedom.

Kenyan media have strongly denounced certain clauses of the Kenya Communication Amendment Act.

Contentious issues include a provision to regulate newspaper, radio and television content by the country's communications regulator, likewise media ownership and ability to issue penalties against offending media companies and journalists.

But the government has refuted the challenges, arguing in a newspaper advertisement this is "an opinion of the media and is not based on the reality of this act".

"The editors forum is considering taking this matter to the country's highest court to ask for the act to be stayed or be suspended," Kenya's Editors Guild said. - Sapa-AFP

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