08 January, 2009

Media Black Out & Institute for Justice and Morality !

On Wednesday i came across a demonstration on one of the Nairobi streets by a group of people who allegedly belong to a little known Institute of Justice & Morality( i wonder who is funding them)!What was amusing was that they were well equiped with printed banners ,blaring loudspeakers, vehicles (whose numberplates were covered) etc.The procession was in support of the ICT -Media Communications Bill/Act of 2008.Suprisingly though this demo was unplanned and possibly unlicensed and yet our over zealous Police just watched as this group joined by the usual idlers and goons paraded the street.Its true that in Kenya we are legally entitled Freedom of Expression which includes a right to demonstrate but what is ironical is that just the other day members of the media fraternity were bludgeoned by baton wielding and zealous anti riot police even before setting foot out of their offices on a planned demonstration against the media bill!Thelaw is always selectively applied resulting in pent up anger amongst the populace.Its time we realized as a Natiion that prevention is better than cure.

A number of Journalists and activists including Walter Mongare a.k.a Nyambane, Caroline Mutoko, Larry Asego ,Jalang`o, Mwalimu Mati and his wife were on Jamhuri day arrested for donning black t-shirts condemning the Government on the Media Bill and MP's on payment of taxes.In this instance a protest for the media by a bunch of goons attracts no such attention!As long as we have a Police force that is partisan and over zealous in carrying out illegal' orders from above' Africa will never experience any meaningful development. Its time when respect for law and order was observed by all and sundry.

In the evening i was pleasantly suprised that actually no media house covered this protest! Infact for the most part of last week the media blacked out all Government functions and activities in protest against the media Act prompting the President to Direct the Minister for Information and the Attorney General to reconsider the contentious clauses in the recent communications law !Just goes to show you cant beat the media they have a strong cane that they can wield against their perceived enemies in this case they painted one political party to be the protector of the Rights of ordinary mwananchi whereas in truth this party aided and abbetted the passing of this draconian legislation.The truth is Kenyans are not so easy to hoodwink and as for the media watch your content and exercise self restraint in tandem with our societal norms (pornography, obscene jesting, lewd music,skimpy dressing,erotica is least tasteful and mind you is strictly regulated against in many countries e.g Saudi Arabia,Qatar etc) lest we the public support these strict regulations!

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