NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s High Court on Thursday directed the country’s
communications industry regulator to allow four privately-owned
television stations to resume broadcasting.
High Court Judge
Chacha Mwita ordered Communications Authority on Kenya (CA) to
restore transmission of KTN, NTV, Citizen and Inooro stations
which were shut down by the government on Tuesday.
Mwita also barred
the government from interfering with the signals or operations
of the four media houses until a case filed by civil society
activist Okiya Omtatah is heard and determined on Feb. 14.
Omtatah wanted the
court to compel relevant authorities to fully restore
transmission with immediate effect, noting that the state must
be stopped from ignoring the rule of law which is a key national
value and principle of governance.
action violates the prohibition in article 34(2) which bars the
state from exercising control over or interfering with any
person engaged in broadcasting, the production or circulation of
any publication,” read the court document.
He also wanted
orders from the court to bar the state from further interference
with all the television transmissions of the four media houses.
Omtatah said the
public’s right to information under article 35 of the
Constitution is directly affected since the switch-off has
curtailed the public right of access to information broadcast by
the media houses.
In his ruling, Mwita
said the conservatory orders will remain until the matter is
heard and determined on Feb. 14. He certified the case as
The government shut
down the television stations hours before National Super
Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga’s defiant inauguration on
Kenyans had expected
the stations would be back on air Tuesday evening after Odinga’s
event, but over 48 hours later, none of the channels has been
There are fears that
the government may have revoked the licenses of the popular TV
stations to punish them for going against its directive.
Secretary Fred Matiang’i later claimed the coalition had planned
a massacre and that some media houses were aware. He launched
investigations into the inauguration which he said will extend
to conspirators and facilitators the event.
Upon completion of
these investigations, appropriate legal action will be taken in
accordance with the laws of Kenya. The government will prefer
appropriate administrative measures on a need by need basis,
Matiang’i said on Wednesday.