Cablegate: Kenya Elections: Gok Press Statement On Suspension of Live
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SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTIONS: GOK PRESS STATEMENT ON SUSPENSION OF LIVE
The GOK issued the following press release on December 31, 2007.
SUSPENSION OF lIVE BROADCASTS MEANT TO STOP VIOLENCE
The Governments suspension of live broadcasts by TV and radio
stations is not meant to curtail media freedom.
This is a temporary but necessary measure undertaken because media
houses were being used to perpetuate violence and to incite
communities against each other.
The Government wishes that media houses had an ability to delay
transmission of live broadcasts for even a few seconds to allow
editors' to quickly stop dangerous information from airing.
Unfortunately, that capacity does not exist in Kenya. The ban is
meant to empower editors to preview content emanating from members
of the public and politicians before airing them. The material can
be aired immediately editors are comfortable with it.
Africa has had its share of violence and even genocide arising from
incitement by media stations. We cannot forget what happened in
Rwanda when broadcasting stations called for communities to rise
against each other. Media should not allow the prevailing
emotionally charged atmosphere to degenerate to massacres. Already,
some people were calling radio stations asking some communities to
take up arms and attack other communities. These were aired live on
air and the editors were helpless.
The Government is keen to ensure freedom of expression is protected
and enhanced. But as you are aware, there are ongoing skirmishes
across the country that have to be contained! and it is essential
not to perpetuate them through incitement.
RUMOURS SHOULD BE IGNORED
Some of those who are inciting communities are using mobile phone
short messages to circulate inciting messages as rumors aimed at
hyping hatred amongst communities in order to create conflicts. Some
of the messages are also meant to create an environment of fear and
uncertainty. We should all disregard these messages. For example! no
ODM leader has been arrested and no senior government or military
officials have resigned, there are many rumours circulating
especially by SMS maktAg.
DR. ALFRED N. MUTUA
PUBLIC COMMUTIONS SECRETARY & GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON