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Ezekiel Mutua: ‘Rogue’ media houses should blame themselves for shutdown

Moral police boss Ezekiel Mutua has weighed in on the government’s move to switch off some of the leading local television stations, and it appears he supports the action.

On Tuesday, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) shut down transmission of three privately owned stations namely, NTV, Citizen TV and KTN.

The crackdown is said to have targeted broadcasters who defied a State House directive not to air live the swearing in of Raila Odinga as ‘People’s President’ at Uhuru Park.

But in a lengthy Facebook post, the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) boss lamented on how for the longest time the media has been operating as a rogue institution that defies rules and regulations, by airing obscene content during watershed hours.

SELF REGULATION

“You see, for far too long we have had a rogue media in this country who behave like they are a Government unto themselves. The media defies regulation even their own Code of Ethics and airs obscene content against the Programming Code,” Dr Mutua said.

“Last year KFCB won a major case stopping media from advertising beer and betting adverts during the watershed but the media defied the orders. We have had to go back to court to seek enforcement orders for something that the media know is a professional responsibility.

“The media houses have largely defied our content classification guidelines, the Programming Code and the Code of Ethics for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya. The licenses given to media houses are not personal,” he added.

Dr Mutua further cautioned the media to regulate themselves since they are not above the law.

“The licenses given to media houses are not personal. They are national assets given to them in public trust. They can’t use them to promote immorality, hate speech, propaganda for war or incitement to violence. The media must regulate themselves or the Government will. They are not above the law.”