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Chiloba warns media over violative coverage of Azimio demos

The Communications Authority has Director General Ezra Chiloba has condemned the manner the local media houses handled last week’s protests organized by the Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party.

In a statement released to the media, Chiloba says that six television stations, including Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47, and Ebru TV, provided coverage that breached the Programming Code by portraying images that had the potential to create alarm or provoke the public thus endangering the country.

Section 33 of the Constitution and the Kenya Information and Communication Act’s Section 5B state that although freedom of expression is a constitutionally guaranteed right, it does does not cover propaganda for war, incitement to violence, hate speech, or advocacy of hatred that amounts to ethnic incitement, vilification of others, or incitement to cause harm or discrimination.

Part of the Kenya Information and Communications (Broadcasting) Regulations requires licensees to ensure that their broadcasts do not glorify violence, depict violence in an offensive manner, incite or perpetuate hatred, or vilify any person or group in the community. A section of the Programming Code stipulates that broadcasters must exercise caution in their coverage of crisis situations to avoid hindering or obstructing authorities’ efforts to resolve the situation.

Chiloba said that he has written to all broadcasters to ensure compliance with the said code. “The coverage depicted scenes that could cause panic or incitement to the public, threatening peace and cohesion to the country,” the CA boss said. He added that while the Communications Authority promotes freedom of the press, it was imperative that all broadcasters exercise caution in live broadcast coverage in order to avoid scenes that he said could be “detrimental to peace and cohesion,”

The CA boss warned that failure to abide by the outlined obligations shall amount to acting in breach of license conditions and which shall attract liability in accordance with the law which can lead to revocation of broadcast license or frequencies.

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