Kenya TV Shutdown: State Switches back on some stations

A man sits in a control centre of the NTV channel, which was shutdown by the Kenyan government because of their coverage of opposition leader Raila Odinga's symbolic presidential inauguration this week, at the Nation group media building In Nairobi, Kenya, February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Nairobi – The government has been ordered by the court to put back on four private televisions back on air, as the media blackout continued after opposition gathering aired on live television was shutdown in the capital of Nairobi.


The government initially shutdown downed CitizenTV, InooroTV, KTN and NTV, as they ignored warning from the government not to air opposition leader self inauguration Raile Odinga as the “people’s president”. This type of media censorship has not been seen in Kenya in years, although the footage of the inauguration was still streamed online. The court ordered that all transmission should be restored.


“Though the government has indicated that the stations are under investigations, they do not have to be off-air for investigations to go on,” said Senator Gideon Moi, chair of the Senate committee on Information and Communication Technology.


The public have reacted negatively to the government’s overreach, protesters where met with tear gas when they marched to government offices. Activist Okiya Omtatah claimed that police blocked him from accessing Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Headquarters in Nairobi from filing a petition to overturn the directive led to shutdown, arguing that it violated the constitution. Televison stations KTN News and NTV are back on air and Citizen TV and Inooro TV are are yet to be reinstated.


The United States has condemned the government overreach, “US again urges government of Kenya to allow TV stations to re-open. Free media is essential to democracy. So adherence to the Constitution and rule of law. Court orders must be respected,” said Godec in a tweet.


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