Kenyan court suspends gov’t media shutdown

A Kenyan court has suspended a government shutdown of three private television channels that was prompted by their coverage of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s self-proclaimed inauguration on Tuesday, one of the channels reported on its Twitter feed.

The government which said yesterday that the media houses will be off air ‘until investigations into the coverage of the opposition inauguration are complete’ is yet to respond to the latest development..

A Kenyan activist, Okiya Omtahah had earlier petitioned the court, seeking a declaration that the shutdown of the three television stations by the government is ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.

The crackdown has been widely criticised by human rights watchdogs and journalists, who have demanded that government halts the ongoing blockade.

Three Kenyan journalists from one of the affected television stations, NTV, told Reuters on Thursday that they spent the night in their newsroom in fear of arrest, watching plainclothes policemen camped outside their offices.

“We were doing our job, we had the right to do this, and if I was to do it again, I’d do it the same way,” NTV senior anchor and reporter Ken Mijungu told Reuters.

He said his colleagues, Larry Madowo and Linus Kaikai, had all been independently warned by security sources on Wednesday that their arrest was imminent.

The journalists say their lawyers would file court petitions in the morning seeking to ensure their freedom.

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