THE COMMUNICATION BILL (2008): LET’S SETTLE THIS BILL WITH A SOBER MIND By Mungai.

The communication bill, 2008, which was passed by the parliament, which only awaits the President’s accent, has stirred controversy and misunderstanding between the government and the media players. The whole debate seems to be getting out of hand, with the whirlwind of dust which has been degenerated. It requires a sober mind to reach to a conclusive argument because the Government is insisting that the media must be regulated whereas the media fraternity is questioning the government’s move to curtail their freedom of expression.

 

The media players have vented their anger towards the members of Parliament over what they are terming as grass misconduct and gagging of their freedom of expression. By rushing to pass the bill again the freedom of the media, the M.Ps were merely taking revenge against the fourth estate for the relentless coverage of the public outrage over their refusal to pay tax of their obscenely hefty allowances.

 

That a mere 25 M.P’s (of the total of 222) which is 11 percent who happened to be in the National assembly passed the horrible communication bill.

And, according to the international group of reporters without borders, while urging president Kibaki not to sign the Kenya’s Communications (amendments) bill 2008, said that this particularly draconian bill has sparked into law, it would in our view, represent a big step backwards for press freedom in a country known for it’s diverse, outspoken and professional news media.

 

But in a quick rejoinder in the government circles and according to the Permanent secretary, in the ministry of information and Technology, Dr Bitange Ndemo, he categorically stated that the Government wishes to restate for the umpteenth time that the government has no intention of gagging the media. Indeed, this government has remained firmly committed to the freedom of press and it will continue to be so. We want to assure the media and the general public that the government has no intention either in the present or in the future of undermining press freedom.

 

Whether the Government has developed a suspicious eye over the media might be a matter of concern, and according to media owners it’s a bitter pills to shallow. It seems as if the words that were written by Ken Saro Wiwa has infiltrated the Government, when he said that the people who fear the power of ideas- that’s the power of pen which demands for social justice, human rights – are so afraid of the power of words that they never read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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