Media law– Proposed Emendations to the Media Council Act 2013 has sparked a heated debate among media and legal stakeholders with the two groups holding different views on the same.
Among the media stakeholders, the Kenya reporters Association( KCA) was the first to unleash a bombardment against the proposed law saying the changes demanded public participation from stakeholders as is needed by the law.
The KCA president Oloo Janak said his association had only learnt about the proposed changes when they were formerly before the National Assembly Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation.
Counsel William Oketch, the Chairman of the Media Council of Kenya( MCK) Complaints Commission played down enterprises raised by KCA saying no stakeholders have been locked out from the process.
Mr Oketch said having analysed the proposed changes; he can confidently assert that it’s neither a trouble nor poke to media freedoms. “ It just seeks to ameliorate the nonsupervisory frame by making it effective and streamlined, ” he asserted.
Mr Janak still said KCA was scarified by the reported action to amend the Media Act still and called for explanation on who has initiated the process to amend the Act, what specific proffers have been made and why the assiduity has not been robustly involved.
“ We prompt stakeholders, at individual institutional situations not to fall into any temptation or conspiracy in a process so profound as the change of media laws.
This direction must be avoided as it has the implicit to drag the assiduity into contestation, bring schism and discord, and which may lead to prolonged legal action again, and in an election time, ” he advised. Mr Janak said the position of KCA was that, like in 2011- 2013, the media assiduity and confederated support groups must take a common position on this process and insure open consultations and contend on public participation.
The KCA president said reports of settled and tone- serving interests and the possibility of advancing state zeal to control the media sector, through the correction process( the interests appear to be both in the media assiduity and within congress) ‘ are veritably unsettling and should worry us ’.
Mr Oketch said from both a counsel and adjudicator’s perspective, his primary pick- outs showed that the proposed changes doesn’t take down from MCK nor add onto the Executive any functional places and powers of the MCK under section 6. Lawyer William Oketch, the Chairman of the MCK Complaints Commission speaks at the KCA Forum in Nairobi.
print/ KCA He said the proposed emendations follows the British administrative model of Bill fabrication, Speakers blessing for publication, 1st and 2nd reading, Committee stage, Report stage, 3rd reading and Assent. “ In this environment the Bill has just been approved for publication also tabling after fabrication was done by the Chair of the Departmental commission due to emergent stakeholder enterprises from former engagements as far as 2018, ” he added.
Mr Oketch said no stakeholders have been locked out from the process as public participation takes place after the 1st reading when the Bill is committed to the Departmental commission to grease public participation. He said the National Assembly Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation will after Parliament resumes conduct public participation( by inviting views) commentary from members of the public as well as inviting the core stakeholder groups to make donations before it.
“ This accords with indigenous and transnational stylish practices where due to confluence of platforms media interpreters or druggies need to be defined, ” he emphasised. Mr Oketch said having sat in the former Media Complaints Commission plus as current speaker this description is a huge relief for adjudicatory reach. “ There are people in our newsrooms who aren’t intelligencer’s yet hold the microphone, exercise this trade and continuously have traduced the law.
When complaints come they’re struck out on a ramification of the strict description of a intelligencer to whom the Act applies. A great injustice to the displeased parties, ” he noted. Mr Oketch observed that the Bill takes down from the ICT Cabinet Secretary powers of making regulations and places it in the Council with the compass or type of regulations expanded to include on backing, delegation and regulation.
He said on the Complaints Commission the Bill deletes the section that qualified a sitting judicial officer from serving as speaker as preventative measure of independence plus relieving the Commission from the duty of serving process which naturally should be the suers forte.
On training and blessing of class for journalism seminaries, Mr Oketch said the Bill attempts to lodge the part of the Media Council of Kenya in determining training class. He added that this case was a contest between the Council for Legal Education( CLE) and CUE. The CLE lost noting that the stylish way would be to amend the section and include the expression, ’ “ In discussion with the Commission for University Education, ”