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Media Laws in Kenya

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Submitted By vikki65
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The media in Kenya is a diverse and vibrant growing industry. There are more than 90FM radio stations, 14 television stations and a massive number of formal and informal print newspapers and magazines. For a long time the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) dominated Kenya's electronic media scene as the only nationwide broadcaster, but with time, privately owned media houses have taken charge to the point of mockingly reporting the recent strike of KBC staff. Relations between the mass media and the Kenyan government have always been tense. However with challenging issues of media ownership, media responsibility and governmental legal mandates, the control of media outlets is now extremely controversial with regards to a declared democratic country like Kenya.

This paper seeks to analyse the role of Kenyan free press in promoting democracy and the initial challenges to an unrestrained freedom of the press on account of perceptions of irresponsibility in the exercise of free speech and the role of the media in development in Kenya.

Media Laws

Section 79 of the Constitution of Kenya declares that every Kenyan has the freedom to hold opinions without interference, to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information and freedom from interference with his correspondence. According to Mwangi, 2007, freedom of the press is the right to seek, receive and to impart information. The freedom of expression in Kenya however is expressly limited in cases where any law in question makes reasonable provision in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health or to protect the rights and privacy of other persons, and to avoid the disclosure of confidential information.

Mwangi, 2007 continues to say that while freedom of the press as a component of free speech has…...

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