The High court has suspended the decision by the Communication Authority to censure six TV stations for allegedly violating media regulations during the coverage of mass protests by the Azimio One Kenya coalition on Monday.
In a ruling delivered by Justice John Chigiti, the decision followed a petition filed by Katiba Institute, Law Society of Kenya and journalist unions.
CA Director General (DG) Ezra Chiloba faulted six television stations over their live coverage of the anti-government protests led by Azimio One Kenya coalition Party Leader Raila Odinga on Monday.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Chiloba threatened to revoke the licenses of Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47 and Ebru TV for broadcasting the rallies claiming the national broadcasters had violated the code of coverage.
“Today, the Authority completed a review of Broadcast Coverage of Opposition demonstrations held on March 20, 2023. The authority has established that at least Six (6) TV stations, namely, Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47 and Ebru TV, provided coverage in a manner that violated the Programming Code.” Chiloba said.
Chiloba said he had written to all broadcasters to ensure compliance with the said code.
CA warned that broadcasters exercise caution in live broadcast coverage in order to avoid scenes that he said could be “detrimental to peace and cohesion,”
In the ruling, the court said that CA’s decision may endanger the lives of people since the police would be acting in absence of the fourth estate as the people’s watchdog.
“CA’s decision could have a chilling effect on media freedom, freedom of information, and freedom of expression,” read court documents.
“Besides, the decision endangers life because it would enable the trigger-happy National Police Service to operate in darkness and police demonstrations without media oversight.”