Kenya: Government must respect and protect the constitutional right to freedom of the press

Amnesty International in collaboration with The Kenya National Commission for Human Rights, the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, ARTICLE 19 and Katiba Institute condemn the unconstitutional and arbitrary shutdown of the three major private TV stations- Nation Media Group’s NTV, Citizen TV of Royal Media Services Limited and KTN News, by the Communications Authority of Kenya. The action was taken before the relay of the live swearing in of NASA’s presidential candidate, Raila Odinga on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, at Uhuru Park.

The intimidation of three of Kenya’s most senior journalists and media representatives is unacceptable and curtails the freedom of the press. It is credibly believed that the Kenyan authorities were last night prepared to arrest the Editors Guild Chairperson and Managing Editor Nation Media Group, Broadcast Division – Linus Kaikai, Technology Editor and News Anchor – Larry Madowo, Senior News Anchor – Ken Mijungu, following a press conference by Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiangi. This amounts to a serious threat to the freedom of the media during a delicate political situation in the country.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Matiangi, yesterday said the TV stations will remain closed indefinitely until investigations are concluded. We call on the authorities to stop intimidating the mass media and unconditionally restore the right of Kenyan citizens to a free press. Journalism is not a crime. The Government must respect our Constitution at all times.