Sanef Media Release November 7 2013
The SA National Editors’ Forum strongly supports Kenyan members and their colleagues in The Africa Editors’ Forum (Taef) in protesting against the passage by the Kenyan Parliament of a draconian media Bill which will have devastating effects on press freedom in that country and threatens the professional lives of journalists and in some instances their publications. The decision to set up a government-appointed Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal with powers to impose huge financial penalties on offenders – fines of up to R2.3-million (about US $230 000) – and even bar journalists from working is the most punitive taken by an African government in years. The institution is no less than a 21st Century government-run “Star Chamber” for journalism and journalists. In addition to its objections to those provisions of the bill that are known, Sanef is deeply worried about the possibility of other authoritarian governments in Africa—and there are many of them – adopting similar punitive measures against their journalists and media.
Sanef calls on the Kenyan government to withdraw the bill and consult with local journalists about its affects on the profession.