Blow to media as court rules Media Council Act constitutional
Media practitioners have suffered a major blow after the High Court declared the Media Council Act and the Kenya Information and Communication Amendment Act constitutional.
The three-judge bench lead by Justice Isaac Lenaola further said in the judgement that the President properly exercised his constitutional mandate by assenting to the bill.
The ruling means journalists will now be fined up to Ksh 500,000 and media companies up to Ksh 20 million if a new government-regulated board finds them in breach of a government-dictated code of conduct.
The three judge bench comprising of Judges Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and Weldon Korir found at least two sections of the laws unconstitutional.
Justice Lenaola said that section 3 (2)(a) of the Media Council Act to the extent that it requires that in exercise of the right to freedom of expression is unjustifiable limitation of the right to freedom of expression and thus unconstitutional.
Also declared unconstitutional is Section 6(2)(c ) of the Media Council Act for being vague in its description of what constitutes matters of national security.
The Kenya Editors Guild, Kenya Union of Journalists and the Kenya Correspondents Association moved to court claiming that the Kenya Information and Communication (Amendment) Act and the Media Council Act 2013 contravened constitutional freedoms of the media and should be.
They had said the laws are unconstitutional because they seek to control, interfere with and penalize journalists.
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