The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has condemned the shutdown of media channels stating that the move curtails media freedom and freedom of expression in the country.
The Communications Authority switched off TV signals of three private media houses on Tuesday over coverage of the ‘swearing-in’ ceremony of opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Activist Okiya Omtatah obtained an order Thursday compelling the State to restore the signals, but the government was yet to comply by Friday afternoon.
KAM said in a statement that the Constitution protects the freedom of the media in Article 34 and it was wrong for the State to purport to exercise control over or interfere with any person engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of any publication or the dissemination of information by any medium.
“In addition, part (b) adds that the state shall not penalize any person for any opinion or view or the content of any broadcast, publication or dissemination,” the statement said.
KAM further stated that the freedom of the media to make editorial decisions without undue influence is essential.
“It is rooted in our country’s commitment to the Rule of Law and a free press. Moreover, it is affirmed by the courts. The role of free media in a thriving democracy is critical to a country’s overall development,” the statement added.
The manufacturers said it is critical that all stakeholders are united in safeguarding democracy in order to achieve shared goals