The African Editors’ Forum (TAEF) called recent Kenyan government actions “outdated, draconian and deplorable”, after the government of Kenya muzzled the media covering an event organised by opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Kenyan authorities shut down independent television and radio stations that covered the event, which was of major public interest to all Kenyans.
“Journalism is the first draft of history and the presence of journalists is neither an indication of support or lack thereof, of an event, but a constitutional duty to record for the public events of major public interest and importance.
“Blocking transmission is blocking the public from knowing what is going on. TAEF calls on the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta to apologise to the nation for the criminal and unconstitutional act,” read the TAEF statement.
TAEF further called on the government of Kenya to provide assurances to all Kenyans that the government will allow freedom the media to reign and it will not abuse its power to censor views that it does not agree with.
“It is sad to see Kenya, which has been one of the leading media freedom lights on the continent, descending into a country where this freedom is under serious threat. TAEF raised concern about the conduct of the government in the run-up to and during the elections and does so again, today, following the censorship around an event organised by opposition leader Raila Odinga,” said TAEF chairperson Jovial Rantao.
TAEF reiterated its stance that the government of Kenya and others on the continent must remove, from their statuette books, laws that are inimical to media freedom.