How international media reported Kenya TV shutdown

Blank screens of leading television stations NTV, Citizen and KTN and a live K24 one in the Nation newsroom on January 30, 2018. The television shutdown entered its seventh day on February 5, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The government shut down the television stations on January 30.
  • On February 1, a court ordered the state to restore broadcast.
  • The stations were still off-air.

The government’s decision to shut down NTV, KTN News, Citizen TV and Inooro TV, and its continued disobedience of a court order to restore broadcast has attracted international attention.

The television shutdown entered its seventh day on Monday.

The media blackout has been condemned by the United Nations, the US, European Union and human rights organisations.

International media stations from around the globe have highlighted the government’s defiance to keep the stations off-air, despite a court order to restore broadcast.

The New York Times: Kenya Government Defies Court Order to Restore TV Broadcasts

The Kenyan government is defying a court order to put four private television stations back on the air, escalating a week of political tensions and raising concerns about its respect for the rule of law.

Government officials disconnected the stations – Citizen TV, Inooro TV, KTN News and NTV – during live broadcasts on Tuesday morning from an opposition gathering in Nairobi, the capital. President Uhuru Kenyatta had warned the owners of the stations against broadcasting the event.

On Thursday, the Milimani High Court, a lower-level court, issued an order requiring the Communications Authority of Kenya to restore the stations “with immediate effect.” By Friday evening, the government still had not complied.

The government has not explained its apparent defiance. But Mwenda Njoka, a spokesman for the ministry of interior, which is named in the order, suggested that the government could appeal because, he said, its representatives had not been present at the court hearing where the order was issued.

George Kegoro, director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, said the government’s action suggested the country was moving down a worrying path.

CNN: Kenya TV stations still off air despite court order

Three major Kenyan television channels remained off the air Friday despite a high court order compelling the government to allow them to resume broadcasting.

In what has been seen by many as media censorship, the government ordered private channels KTN, NTV and Citizen TV to be switched off Tuesday over coverage of a symbolic "swearing-in" of opposition leader Raila Odinga the same day.

The television channels went dark at 10am (2am ET) Tuesday – a move not seen in the country for years.

A court ordered the government Thursday to restore all transmissions immediately pending a February 14 court hearing challenging the decision to shut down the television stations. The channels have continued to stream online throughout the blackout.

The Telegraph: Kenya media blackout continues despite Western pressure

Kenya’s government ignored Western pressure and flouted its own judges Friday after it refused to suspend an unprecedented shutdown of independent television stations.

Escalating a broader clampdown, police also arrested a second prominent opposition figure, prompting a renewal of the political violence that has claimed scores of lives since Kenyans voted in a disputed election last August.

The country’s three largest independent television stations remained off the air for a fourth day as Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president, showed no sign of letting up in his campaign of vengeance against journalists who chose to defy him

BBC: How Kenyans are coping with a TV shutdown

With Kenya's most popular television stations off-air for five days running, many people are finding alternative ways to spend their time.

At a bar in Nairobi's Kibera neighbourhood, Maurice chats with his friends over a beer.

He says he has no reason to go home early because his favourite channels are off.

"I only watch Citizen TV, KTN News or NTV," he says. "I feel so bad."

The three channels command more than two-thirds of the entire television viewership in Kenya.

Aljazeera: UN calls on Kenya to end ongoing TV station suspension

The United Nations has criticised the government of Kenya for keeping three independent television stations off the air, despite a court ruling ordering the state to lift the suspension.

Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the stations remained suspended for a third day on Friday "in spite of an interim order by a Kenyan high court".

"We call on the government to respect and implement the judicial decision," Colville said in a statement.


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