NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya
entered the second day of media crackdown on Wednesday after the government shut
down three popular TV stations after they defied a directive not to air
controversial swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday.
KTN News, NTV
and Citizen Television stations were shut down by the Communication Authority of
Kenya early Tuesday morning minutes after they had started airing the event.
expected the stations would be back on air Tuesday evening after Odinga’s event,
but over 24 hours later, none of the channels has been reinstated.
government, on the other hand, has remained mum on the action, keeping the
country guessing on what would happen next.
hours to the opposition event, it emerged that the government had held a meeting
with some media executives and warned them of closure if they air the ceremony.
Editors Guild, however, protested the move noting that the country had competent
media professionals who make decision on what is news and what is not.
fears that the government may have revoked the licenses of the popular TV
stations to punish them for going against its directive.
Group, which runs NTV, termed the crackdown on Wednesday “a deeply worrying sign
of intolerance and autocratic tendency that has become too common since 2013.”
unilateral decision amounted to assault on the citizens’ right to know what is
happening in their country. The freedom of the media is not a token privilege
that the government of the day can give and take at will,” added the company in
The issue has
generated great debate on social media, which has become the only platform where
Kenyans can access information on what is happening in the country.
A majority of
citizens sympathized with the media and faulted the government for the crackdown
on the stations, but others supported the move.
“There is no
justification as to why the media houses were shut and should remain off-air.
There was no threat to security,” said Macharia Gaitho, a veteran journalist and
He added that
Kenyans owe the TV stations a debt and gratitude for having the courage to defy
illegal State orders in airing the swearing-in.
must resist at all costs intimidation. Media freedom is an alienable right that
cannot be abridged by the State,” he added.
Okero said the shutdown was a violation of the constitution as it interferes
with the right to disseminate and receive information.
despite the shutdown, the three TV stations are continuing with their normal
programming which they are streaming live online as they await their fate.
favourite programmes online,” KTN News informed its viewers, same as Citizen and
spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, Mwenda Njoka, reportedly said the
stations’ transmissions were cut due to “security concerns,” which he said, the
government was not obliged to explain.
“There is no
responsible government that would allow media to broadcast anything, more so
live, which might incite people to violence. It would become an unmanageable
situation,” said Njoka, adding that freedom of the press was not absolute.