So it’s now official – the Kenyan Government will indeed push for the repealing of contentious sections contained in the Kenya Communications Act 1998, most notably a number of clauses in Section 88.
So what are they looking to amend?
- Deletion of Section 88, which gives the Internal Security Minister authority to “take temporary possession of any telecommunication apparatus or any radio communication station or apparatus within Kenya”
- Establishment of a Broadcasting Service Advisory Board which will deal with issues of content and registration of the stations
- Expand the Appeals Tribunal, established under Section 102, from five to seven members to allow for the appointment of two other people in consultation with the media industry stakeholders
On the Media Act 2007, the government agreed to fund the Media Council, the Board constituted by the Act for regulation of the media. (The Kenya Communications Amendment Bill passed in December 2008 has erroneously been referred to as the Media Bill even by though we had a Media Bill in 2007, now it’s an Act of Parliament).
Once Parliament reconvenes, the AG says that the motion will be tabled. The amendment when presented will likely, pass with little or no filibustering.
This is a first step, hopefully the political will doesn’t peter out.