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Kalonzo criticizes analogue TV switch off

Cord co-principal and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has condemned the government’s decision to switch off analogue transmission by three local television stations saying it amounts to suppressing press freedom and access to information.

Mr Musyoka said even though the government’s decision followed a court ruling on Friday, the move was a clear assault against the freedom of the media and the public right to access to information.

The former Vice President said public interest must override all considerations including the court matters adding the investors in the media industry should also be treated with some decorum and respect.

“The three media houses must have been treated in a manner befitting centers of media excellence because they’ve build a reputation across Africa for upholding the highest journalistic standards” Mr Musyoka said.

Speaking during the burial of former long serving Ambassador, Prof Phillip Maingi Mwanzia in Matinyani area in Kitui County, he said the government must at all times recognize the local investor’s role in any developing our country.

“Articles 33, 34 and 35 of our constitution expressly guarantee freedom of expression, freedom of the media and public access to information. The Communications Authority should have built consensus among different industry players to avoid this regrettable action,” he said.

PRESS FREEDOM

Mr Musyoka was accompanied by National Assembly Minority Leader Francis Nyenze who is also Kitui West MP and Chuka/Igambang’ombe MP Muthomi Njuki.

Lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu who read President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech at the funeral steered clear of the issue but Information secretary Ezekiel Mutua said the switch off had no relation with press freedom.

Mr Mutua who was the director of program at the funeral said the government was merely complying with the Supreme Court ruling and that if the courts had ruled otherwise, the TV stations would still be on air.

“It is absolutely in nobody’s interest to have any TV station switched off. The digital migration is not an exclusive matter affecting Kenya alone but a global process which all countries must comply” he said.

The Information secretary defended the government against Mr Musyoka claims that press freedom was being suppressed saying leaders should not politicize court rulings.

“President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have constantly engaged the media and in their two years in office so far, they have addressed more press conferences than all their predecessors combined,” Mr Mutua said.